February 1 marked the birthday of America’s sole remaining World War I veteran, Frank W. Buckles, who turned 110. In 1917, Mr. Buckles enlisted in the U.S. Army at age 16, saying he was 21. During the war, he drove motorcycles, cars, and ambulances in England and France, and during the Occupation he guarded German prisoners. Mr. Buckles eventually went to work for the White Star steamship line and was in Manila on business in December 1941 when the Japanese attacked. He spent over three years as a prisoner at the city’s University of Santo Tomas.
We know so much about Mr. Buckles’s eventful life because of the Veterans History Project at American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress. His collection there includes two interviews, given when he was 100 and 103 years old, as well as original documents and photographs.
Through personal narratives, visual materials, and correspondence, the Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.
Search the Veterans History Project here to see if information about a family member has already been contributed.
For information on how to contribute to the project, visit this link.