Frank Buckles – dead at 110
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission
West Virginia’s two Democratic senators blamed House Speaker John Boehner after their hopes of having the remains of World War I veteran Frank Buckles honored in the Capitol Rotunda were dashed, at least for now.
Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin III both released statements saying the Ohio Republican had blocked the Capitol honor…
Buckles died Sunday on his farm in Charles Town, W.Va., at the age of 110. He had been the last surviving American veteran of World War I.
The episode turned what West Virginia lawmakers had hoped would be easy approval for the rare honor for Buckles into a finger-pointing dispute with partisan overtones.
It was unclear late Thursday how the disagreement would end. Asked whether Boehner would be supportive if the Senate approved a resolution allowing Buckles’ remains to lie in the Rotunda, [Boehner’s spokesman] said, “We’ll see what the Senate does.”
The honor requires a congressional resolution or the approval of congressional leaders, according to the office of the architect of the Capitol.
The bodies of prominent citizens have been displayed in the Rotunda on 30 occasions, starting in 1852 with Henry Clay, a Kentucky senator and congressman. Others include Presidents Lincoln and Reagan, unknown soldiers from America’s wars and civil rights hero Rosa Parks…
Members of both parties of West Virginia’s congressional delegation had introduced resolutions to permit Buckles’ casket to be honored in the Capitol. The House version was sponsored by Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va…
In his final years, Buckles had campaigned for greater recognition for the 4.7 million Americans who joined the military in 1917 and 1918 during World War I. Among his goals was a national memorial in Washington for those who served in that conflict.
President Obama has ordered that flags on U.S. government buildings fly at half staff on the day Buckles is buried. His family has said they plan to inter him at Arlington.
No one is really certain why Boehner would deny the honor to Frank Buckles. Maybe he thinks we were on the wrong side in World War One?