Recent Press Releases

Sole Surviving American World War I Veteran Speaks in Support of Memorial Bill

Measure Would Ensure Recognition in Our Nation’s Capital for Over Four Million Americans Who Served in World War I

December 3, 2009

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune today noted that Frank Buckles, who at 108 years old is the last surviving American World War I veteran, spoke before the Senate National Parks Subcommittee in support of Senator Thune’s bipartisan bill (S. 2097) to establish a national World War I memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Senator Thune also spoke in support of the legislation before the subcommittee. Mr. Buckles is likely the oldest person to ever speak before a Congressional committee.

“I am honored by Mr. Buckles’ support of this legislation, and I am impressed by his extraordinary life,” said Thune. “Mr. Buckles, the 30,000 South Dakotans, and more than four million Americans who served in World War I deserve recognition in our nation’s capital right alongside the heroes of other conflicts. I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this long overdue recognition of the historically significant contribution of many Americans.”

Senator Thune’s bill, the Frank Buckles World War I Memorial Act, would rededicate the existing District of Columbia World War I Memorial as the National and District of Columbia World War I Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC. In addition to rededicating the existing memorial, the legislation would authorize the non-profit World War I Memorial Foundation to raise funds to assist with the maintenance and preservation of the Memorial as well as adding new elements to the Memorial to recognize the service of all American’s who served during the Great War. The bipartisan legislation does not require any allocation of taxpayer funds.

Senator Thune is joined in sponsoring the bill by Senators John Rockefeller (D-WV) and Jim Webb (D-VA). A number of Senators have cosponsored the legislation since it was introduced in October, including: John Barrasso (R-WY), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Richard Burr (R-NC), Robert Byrd (D-WV), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Joseph Lieberman (ID-CT), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).