Thursday, February 07, 2008

And Then There Was One

When every autumn people said it could not last through the winter, and when every spring there was still no end in sight, only the hope that out of it all some good would accrue to mankind kept men and nations fighting. When at last it was over, the war had many diverse results and one dominant one transcending all others: disillusion.
Barbara Tuchman (1912–89), historian

From the Wall Street Journal nightly wrap up:

Living participates of World War I are close to vanishing entirely. One of the last two known surviving U.S. veterans of World War I has died. Richard Landis, who enlisted in the Army in 1918, had lived for 108 years. He never saw action, but trained for 60 days at the end of the war, which was enough for the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to count him as a veteran. When asked in an interview last year if he wanted to get into the fight, Mr. Landis replied, "No.'' According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, the last remaining U.S. veteran is Frank Buckles, 107, of Charles Town, W.Va. The last time all known U.S. veterans of a war died was in 1992, when Nathan E. Cook, who served as a sailor in the Spanish-American War of 1898 in the days when 12-year-olds could do such a thing, passed away at age 106.

I think he qualifies as technically the last survivor, so really the last true WWI vet is gone. Just another indication of time marching on, as if we needed it.

1 comment:

Janet said...

I suppose it had to happen sometime, but that doesn't make it any less sad to hear.