WASHINGTON, Nov. 10, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Frank W. Buckles, America's last surviving World War I veteran and honorary chairman of the national World War I Memorial Foundation, today issued the following Veteran's Day statement on the occasion of Germany's final reparations payment and the 92nd anniversary of the armistice:
"I've had a long time to reflect on what it means to 'remember well.' Being nearly 110 years old and the last of the five million Americans who served in World War I gives me some insight on how our nation should mark this great conflict and the generation that fought and died in it.
It has been reported that Germany recently made its final reparations payment, clearing a ledger that few knew still existed. Some declared this payment to be 'closure' for the Great War. While the German people have done much to address the long-ago damages, and the payment has important symbolic value, our own nation cannot yet declare closure. The reason is simple: we still do not have a national memorial in Washington, D.C. to honor the Americans who sacrificed with their lives during World War I. On this eve of Veterans Day, I call upon the American people and the world to help me in asking our elected officials to pass the law for a memorial to World War I in our nation's capital.
These are difficult times, and we are not asking for anything elaborate. What is fitting and right is a memorial that can take its place among those commemorating the other great conflicts of the past century. On this 92nd anniversary of the armistice, it is time to move forward with honor, gratitude and resolve."
The nonprofit World War I Memorial Foundation (www.WWImemorial.org) is dedicated to the restoration and rededication of the District of Columbia War Memorial – a monument on the Mall in Washington, D.C. that commemorates the 499 residents of the District of Columbia who gave their lives in World War I – as a National and District of Columbia World War I Memorial that commemorates the ultimate sacrifice made by more than 116,000 Americans during the Great War.
About the World War I Memorial Foundation
The nonprofit World War I Memorial Foundation (www.WWImemorial.org) is dedicated to the establishment of a national World War I Memorial on the Mall in Washington, D.C. Its honorary chairman, Frank Woodruff Buckles, age 109, is the sole surviving U.S. veteran of World War I, the world's last witness to the horrors of Europe's Western Front and a World War II POW. Buckles' remarkable story will become the subject of "Pershing's Last Patriot" (www.pershingslastpatriot.com), a new documentary to be narrated by Emmy award-winning actor Richard Thomas.
SOURCE World War I Memorial Foundation