Frank Buckles, the last living World War I Doughboy, died early Sunday morning at the age of 110. Born on February 1, 1901 in Bethany, Missouri, Buckles’ life spanned one of the most turbulent, exciting, and eventful times in history. A resident of Charles Town, West Virginia where American Public University System (APUS) is headquartered, Buckles was well-known within the local community as well as nationally.
In response to my article on Veterans Day last week, I received a note from a retired general, Brig. Gen Joe Schafer. Joe is a professor at American Military University and an alumnus as well and he shared his thoughts about Veterans Day. I thought that his piece not only embraced many of my thoughts about those who serve our country, but also provided a great perspective on the attitude of the professional soldier toward the change in administrations and our Commanders in Chief.
On November 11, 1918, the Armistice that ended World War I was signed. One year later, President Wilson proclaimed that “Armistice Day” be celebrated on November 11th in the United States as a way to commemorate the sacrifice made by hundreds of thousands of American servicemen and women who served during World War I. On that day, President Wilson said, “’To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.’”
Today the United States Marines Corps is celebrating its 233rd birthday! On this day in 1775, the Second Continental Congress established two battalions of soldiers to serve as the Continental Marines.
Before I provide you with the rest of the history of the Marine Corps, I need to disclose that our founder, Major James Etter, was an enlisted Marine in Vietnam and after attending college on the GI Bill after the war, became a Marine aviator.
By 1775, the tenuous relationship between the British and the American colonies was at a breaking point. The colonists were enraged by what they saw as unfair treatment at the hands of the British government. The British boasted the most superior naval force in the world, and the colonists faced the daunting challenge of asserting American independence without a centralized naval fighting force.