With vet's passing, WWI is another kind of history





What was it like in the trenches? What was it like in all those places whose names have faded in the dusty recesses of memory, places like Ypres and Gallipoli, Verdun and the Marne? What was it like to fight the war that was supposed to make the world safe for democracy?

There's no one left to ask.

The Great War has almost passed from living memory. The veterans have slipped away, one by one, their obituaries marking the end of the line in country after country: Harry Patch, Britain's last survivor of the trenches; Lazare Ponticelli, the last of the French "poilu"; Erich Kastner, the last of the Germans.

And now, Frank Buckles, dead at age 110, the last U.S. veteran. Missouri boy. Sixteen years old, he lied about his age to get into the Army and badgered his superiors until they sent him to the French front with an ambulance unit, one of 4.7 million Yanks who answered the call to go "Over There."...


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