MOUNT RUSHMORE NATIONAL MEMORIAL - Superintendent Gerard Baker has announced that Mount Rushmore National Memorial will honor World War I veteran Frank Buckles during the 2008 Independence Day Celebration. During a ceremony beginning at 7:00 pm on July 3, the Air Reserve Personnel Center Honor Guard from Denver, Colorado will present the flag flown at the memorial to Frank Buckles for his heroic contributions to the nation’s efforts in World War I.
Frank Buckles joined the United States Army in 1917 when he was just sixteen years old. Through his stations in the United States, England, France and Germany, Buckles served the Army as an ambulance driver and escorted prisoners back to Germany after the Armistice. Buckles ended his time in service in 1920 as Corporal and continued to visit Europe during the 1930s as a civilian. While working with the White Star Steamship line in the Philippines, Buckles was captured by the Japanese in 1940 and spent three years in a Prisoner of War camp in Manila.
At age 107, Buckles is America’s last living World War I veteran. Presenting the memorial’s flag to one of this country’s most treasured veterans, Superintendent Baker noted, "It is an honor to have Frank Buckles join us at the Shrine of Democracy during our celebration of America’s independence and freedom. His life and service to this country are testaments to the enduring dedication and commitment of our military personnel." His attendance at the Independence Day Celebration at Mount Rushmore is made possible by the Mount Rushmore National Memorial Society.
Additional information on the Independence Day Celebration is available on the park web site at www.nps.gov/moru or by calling (605) 574-2523 and pressing extension 5.