Constitution Daily

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Remembering the Last World War I Veteran

March 4, 2011 by Sarah Winski


On Sunday, February 27th, the last-known, American veteran of World War I passed away at the age of 110. Frank Buckles lied about his age – he was only 16 years old – to enlist in the Army in August 1917. He joined over 4 million Americans in uniform, and was shipped to Europe with the other doughboys to serve as an ambulance driver in France.

Moments like this are a time to pause and reflect at what we’ve lost when those who witnessed history are no longer with us. A desire to capture this history – in this case, the first-hand, emotional experiences of soldiers at war – is what drove the U.S. Army to send eight artists to the front lines to document World War I. Through their artwork, this pivotal conflict at the dawn of the last century comes to life; we can imagine what Frank Buckles and the millions of others like him experienced.

The following artworks are a few of the pieces from World War I currently on display in our exhibition, Art of the American Soldier, which will be open through March 31, 2011.

“First Aid Station in an Abandoned Gun-Pit” by Lester G. Hornby, France, 1918
“Marching Through a Ruined Town” by Jules Andre Smith, France, 1918
“The M.P.” by Lester G. Hornby, France, 1918
“Going thru Gas” by George Harding, France, 1918
“Where Do We Go?” by Kerr Eby, 1917

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