Saturday, December 5, 2009

America's Last WWI Vet Is On A Mission

I think that if Frank Buckles, America's last surviving veteran of World War I, makes a trip to Capitol Hill, the least we can do is talk about why he went.

Mr. Buckles, 108, traveled to Washington to lobby Congress to finally create a monument to all those who fought and died in World War I. It's amazing to think, but nearly a century after the end of the conflict, there's still no national memorial to "The Great War". Mr. Buckles has endorsed a Congressional effort to change that, and to do it in a way that means he may even live to see the memorial dedicated. The "Frank Buckles World War I Memorial Act" would rededicate an existing memorial on the National Mall for soldiers from Washington DC into the national memorial for all Americans who served in WWI.

It is a cheap and easy solution to a long-standing problem, so of course there's opposition to it from Congress. Politicians in DC, and their allies in Congress, are opposed to the federal government taking over their memorial; while another group from Missouri wants to see a monument in Kansas City dedicated in 1921 by the commander of American forces Gen. John Pershing rebranded as the national WWI memorial.

Frankly, they seem like silly reasons to oppose what seems like a very sensible solution to the lack of a national WWI monument. Hopefully Congress will act to designate an official memorial, while there's still a WWI vet left to visit it.
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