W.Va. governor orders flags to be flown at half-staff to honor Buckles

March 02, 2011

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin ordered Wednesday that all United States and West Virginia state flags flown at state facilities throughout the Mountain State be lowered to half-staff in honor of World War I veteran Frank Woodruff Buckles.

Buckles died early Sunday at his home in Charles Town, W.Va. He was 110.

Flags at state facilities are to be flown at half-staff through sunset on the day of interment at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va.

"Frank Buckles was our last American connection to the millions who fought in 'The War to End all Wars,'" Tomblin said. "With his passing, we have lost a true patriot who, in his final days, continued to fight to establish a national WWI memorial in Washington, D.C. Mr. Buckles' commitment to his fellow 'doughboys' and our country was truly inspiring. He will be missed.

"In his honor, I ask all West Virginians to pause to remember Mr. Buckles, and all our service men and women, who deserve our unwavering respect."

Buckles joined the U.S. Army at 16, and ultimately earned the rank of corporal. He drove ambulances and motorcycles, traveling across England and France and witnessing the European Theater of World War I.

He later worked as a civilian for American President Lines, and he was taken captive during World War II and held for more than three years by the Japanese.  

Buckles is survived by a daughter, Susannah Buckles Flanagan, and was predeceased by his wife, Audrey, in 1999.

Funeral arrangements have not been completed.

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