There is one American WWI vet still alive today… the lone survivor of the more than two million men sent overseas to fight that war.
Frank Woodruff Buckles is 107. When he was 16, he lied about his age so he could join the Army.
Today, the Senate honors Mr. Buckles. It’s his second big Washington nod this year – earlier this spring, he met with the President.
It’s incredible to think of how this country and the world have changed in Mr. Buckles’ 107 years… he’s seen the birth of commercial flight, the space program, seen cars go from a luxury to a necessity to a burden, seen more changes on maps than I can count… wow.
This note may have come a little late today… and I admit it’s shorter than usual. I had a tough time turning away from Tim Russert’s memorial service this afternoon, and besides Mr Buckles’ story, not much seemed to fit today.
CNN Sr. Political Analyst
Fmr. Presidential Adviser
Since the news reached us on Friday afternoon, many Americans have experienced an extraordinary sense of grief about the death of Tim Russert. One hears it not only on television but in personal conversations with people all over the country. A friend in Hawaii sent a note to his three sons on Saturday, asking them to watch "Meet the Press" the next morning so that they could talk together about the meaning of father-son relationships on Father's Day. A friend in North Carolina said he was glued to his television. A friend in Massachusetts said she had not felt so much anguish since the death of John F. Kennedy.
Clearly, some of the grieving comes because he seemed so vital and young, heightening the sense that he left us far ahead of his time. Some of it comes because we are now hearing stories from an army of close friends that he maintained and how much he cared for them - he was a sweet as well as passionate man. NBC, to its credit, has revealed to us just how much he meant to his colleagues, not only there but in every corner of journalism and politics. We are learning, too, of how fine a chief he was to his Washington bureau - he may be as irreplaceable there as on the air. As Andrea Mitchell of NBC said right off, he set the gold standard in journalism.
But the depth of the grieving among the public suggests that he touched something deeper in the country.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/13/art.vert.russert.jpg width=292 height=320 caption="Tim Russert 1950-2008"]
Filed under: Tim Russert
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