CBSN

Last WWI vet to be buried in Arlington service

Frank Buckles' enlistment photo into the U.S. Army in 1917, left, and Buckles, right, receives an American flag during Memorial Day activities at the National World War I Museum in Kansas City, May 26, 2008.
AP Photo/Buckles Family/Charlie Riedel

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The West Virginia soldier who outlived every other American who served in World War I will be buried next week at Arlington National Cemetery.

A service for Frank Buckles is set for 4 p.m. Tuesday, but family spokesman David DeJonge said Thursday it remains unclear who can attend. He says details are still being worked out with cemetery officials.

Arlington spokeswoman Jennifer Lynch declined comment.

Buckles' daughter wanted her father to lie in repose in the U.S. Capitol, but Congress failed to approve that plan. Politicians remain divided over how to best honor Buckles and nearly 5 million former comrades. Buckles had been advocating for a national memorial honoring veterans of the Great War in the nation's capital and asked about its progress weekly.

Buckles had already been eligible to have his cremated remains housed at the cemetery. To be buried underground, however, he would have had to meet several criteria, including earning one of five medals, such as a Purple Heart.

Buckles, who also survived being a civilian POW in the Philippines in World War II, died of natural causes last month at his home in Charles Town. He was 110.

Fight To Remember WWI Veterans
Buckles Honored in 2008

Buckles was repeatedly rejected by military recruiters and got into uniform at 16 after lying about his age.

He served in England and France, working mainly as a driver and a warehouse clerk. An eager student of culture and language, he used his off-duty hours to learn German, visit cathedrals, museums and tombs, and bicycle in the French countryside.

Buckles never saw combat but joked, "Didn't I make every effort?"