March 21st, 2012 by MOTHAX
A Michigan filmmaker and the daughter of Frank Buckles, who was the last surviving American veteran of World War I, fired the latest salvo Friday in their battle to turn a monument to fallen District of Columbia troops into a national memorial: They released a 12-minute video pushing the project.
“Frank Buckles’ cause has been taken up by the ‘new lobbyist’ of the 21st century — the powerful combination of film, social media and a small board of directors,” said David DeJonge, a Grand Rapids, Mich., documentary maker, in a statement. Dejonge has teamed with Susannah Buckles Flanagan to fulfill what they say were the wishes of her father when he died last year at age 110.
The video posted on the website of DeJonge’s group, the National WWI Memorial Foundation, is part of a larger documentary planned on Buckles called “Pershing’s Last Patriot.” The current segment is titled “938” after a stalled House bill that would designate the D.C. War Memorial as the “District of Columbia and National World War I Memorial.”
The film clip seeks to gloss over heavy opposition from District residents and elected officials to adding other elements around the memorial, which lists the names of 499 local service members who died in the war and were among more than 26,000 D.C. residents to serve. It recounts Buckles’ visit to the once dilapidated monument and his wish to see it restored and dedicated to all veterans who served in what was once known as the Great War.
WHEREAS, The United States joined its European allies in 1917 to help defeat Germany and its allies in the first World War which, after cessation of hostilities, was referred to as the Great War or the War to End all Wars; and
WHEREAS, The United States mobilized over 4,700,000 Armed Forces personnel for that war and lost 116,516 killed in action or died from other causes as well as 204,002 wounded; and
WHEREAS, There is no National World War I Memorial which was ever authorized by Congressional action, although private citizens and other states raised funds for the design, construction and dedication of World War I memorials, stadiums and museums; and…
WHEREAS, The last living World War I veteran, Mr. Frank Buckles of West Virginia, aroused the interest of Congress to have a National World War Memorial on the Mall to honor all veterans of the Great Wars, not just DC soldiers killed in Europe; and
WHEREAS, The World War I Memorial Foundation was established in August 2006 as a private nonprofit organization to raise funds for the rededication and an additional enhancement of the World War I Memorial on the Mall as a National and District of Columbia World War I Memorial; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, By the National Executive Committee of The American Legion in regular meetings assembled in Indianapolis, Indiana, on October 13-14, 2010, That The American Legion support the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri as the National WWI Memorial and Museum and the District of Columbia World War I Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC as the District of Columbia and National World War I Memorial without financial obligation to The American Legion.