WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Frank Buckles considered it his duty to represent his fellow soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day."I have to," he told CNN, "because I'm the last living member of Americans" who fought in what was called The Great War.
Buckles, 107, who is the sole living U.S. World War I veteran, attended ceremonies Tuesday at the grave of Gen. John Pershing, the top U.S. commander in that war.
He was present for the first Veterans Day in 1918 -- though it was originally called Armistice Day -- that marked the end of WWI.
Buckles was warmly greeted with standing applause by those in uniform and others who had gathered for the commemoration, but he said he did not think the fuss was about him.
"I can see what they're honoring, the veterans of World War I."
"Time has passed very quickly to me," he said after a wreath-laying. "I've had a lot of activity in the last 90 years."
November 11, 2008
The Last Surviving US WW I Vet
We owe him and our other vets a debt of gratitude.