February 28th, 2011
02:07 PM ET
President Obama paid tribute Monday to the last surviving American veteran of World War I who passed away on Sunday.
Buckles, born February 1, 1901, was a corporal in the U.S. Army and drove an ambulance in France for wounded troops during the war. He was 16 when he entered the European theater. He also served in World War II, and became a prisoner of war for 39 months in the Philippines.
Buckles settled down in West Virginia after his release, and advocated for a World War I memorial In Washington, D.C., his entire life. His efforts led him to testifiy before the U.S. Senate in December 2009 on the need for a memorial.
Read the President's statement on Buckles:
Frank Buckles lived the American Century. Like so many veterans, he returned home, continued his education, began a career, and along with his late wife Audrey, raised their daughter Susannah. And just as Frank continued to serve America until his passing, as the Honorary Chairman of the World War I Memorial Foundation, our nation has a sacred obligation to always serve our veterans and their families as well as they’ve served us. We join Susannah and all those who knew and loved her father in celebrating a remarkable life that reminds us of the true meaning of patriotism and our obligations to each other as Americans.