Katie Couric's Notebook: Frank Buckles

In a May 26, 2008 file photo Frank Buckles receives an American flag during Memorial Day activities at the National World War I Museum in Kansas City, Mo. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

In Flanders Field the poppies blow, between the crosses, row on row.

My mother loved that poem, one of the most famous from World War One.

Yesterday the final torchbearer of the nearly five million Americans who enlisted to fight "Over There," died at the age of 110.

Frank Buckles became a Doughboy when he was just a boy at 16. He lied about his age and tried every trick in the book to get to France, where he drove an ambulance for the Army.

In 1917 he sailed to Europe on the Carpathia, the ship that saved survivors of the Titanic. More than a hundred thousand Americans came to the end of their journeys on the battlefields of Europe. His journey was just beginning...and it was long and colorful.

Frank Buckles once said, "If your country needs you, you should be right there. That is the way I felt when I was young, and that's the way I feel today."

As he is laid to rest, the torch he held so high still glows brightly.

That's a page from my notebook.

I'm Katie Couric, CBS News.

  • Katie Couric

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