Frank Buckles, America’s last surviving World War I veteran, died Sunday at 110, unable to live long enough to see his dream of a national monument to US veterans of the Great War become a reality.
Buckles, who lied about his age in 1917 when he was 16 so he could enlist, was one of more than 70 million men and women worldwide who served in the “War to End All Wars,” the greatest conflict mankind had witnessed to that point.
He was turned down repeatedly before finally being accepted into military service. The Army sent him to France, where he drove ambulances and motorcycles.
After the armistice, he helped return German prisoners of war to their country.
Japan began excavations today at a former army medical school to search for human remains linked to a notorious World War II program that is said to have conducted biological warfare in China and live experiments on foreign prisoners of war.
It is uncertain if the excavation will unearth anything, but the effort is a sign that the government is open to the possibility of facing its long-kept wartime secrets, including the experiments conducted by the military’s shadowy Unit 731, according to the Associated Press.
Unit 731 was responsible for some of the most notorious war crimes carried out by Japanese personnel.
Its activities, which included subjecting prisoners to vivisection without anesthesia, have never been officially acknowledged by the Japanese government even though historians and participants have documented them.