The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

July 3, 2013

Kansas City memorial pays tribute to World War I soldiers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For many years, the name Frank Woodruff Buckles meant nothing to most people.

Few folks remembered the name of the brave farm boy from northern Missouri.

Buckles, born in 1901 near Bethany, moved with his family to Walker in Vernon County early in his life. He attended school there, moving later to Oklahoma.

He soon became Cpl. Buckles, but only after duping U.S. Army officials to allow him to enlist in the military in 1917. He was just 16.

While most pimple-faced boys his age were more concerned about girls, families and farm work, and dreaming of their lives to come, Buckles was driving ambulances and shuttling fellow soldiers around the killing fields of war-torn Europe.

Buckles died in February 2011. He was the last known surviving American veteran of World War I. He was 110 years old.

One of those who know much about Buckles’ past — and the Great War in which he fought — is David Holmquist.

For more than six years, Holmquist, a Kansas City financial planner and consultant, has volunteered much of his time shepherding visitors around the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial.

He loves sharing his vast knowledge of the Great War and those American, French, British, Russian, German and Austro-Hungarian troops who battled hand-to-hand, dodged shells and donned gas masks in order to survive the conflict. His volunteer work at Liberty Memorial is a “labor of love,” he said.

Around 9 million military personnel from dozens of countries and colonies lost their lives during the first war of the mechanized age, during which 65 million soldiers of all stripes fought.

Buckles was one of the lucky ones. He survived, served his country again during World War II, was held as a prisoner of war in the Philippines — he survived again — owned businesses, married and eventually settled on a farm at Charles Town, W.Va. He worked that land until he turned 105.

Holmquist said he was honored to meet the aging veteran during a ceremony a few years ago at Liberty Memorial.

“I met him when he came to Kansas City at the museum in 2008,” said Holmquist, who answers visitors’ questions, points them to areas of interest, and works to help guests locate their World War I familial connections at the museum and archives near downtown Kansas City.

“(Buckles) was the toast of the town that weekend,” he remembered. “He and his daughter, who was about 55 at that time, toured and spoke to us.”

Meeting the last known American doughboy made an impression on Holmquist. It’s a story he loves to share.

“As he left in his wheelchair, I instinctively put my hand out as he passed,” Holmquist said. “His poor circulation made for a cold handshake.”

Buckles, he said, was the most valuable relic of the Great War in the museum that day.

Text Only
Local News
  • 0420earthday.jpg Prairie State Park kicks off Earth Day events

    Prairie State Park began celebrating Earth Day early with an event Saturday that provided a chance for people of all ages to learn more about how they can protect the environment.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joplin Catholic schools to hold annual spring auction

    The Joplin Area Catholic Schools spring auction will be staged Saturday at the Jack Lawton Webb Convention Center, 5300 S. Range Line Road in Joplin.

    April 19, 2014

  • Wally Kennedy MUG72.jpg Wally Kennedy: Another pizza choice and ice cream on the way

    A new pizza restaurant is coming to the northwest corner of Stone’s Corner in the Village of Airport Drive. Piez is opening this week in a storefront that formerly housed Quincy Magoo’s, 6039 N. Main Street Road, which has been closed for more than two years.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • mike pound_cnhi .jpg Mike Pound: No more hiding Easter eggs or emotions

    Well, that’s a wrap on the Easter egg hunts. For about 15 years we have staged not one, but two Easter egg hunts for our now 16-year-old daughter, Emma.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914 Wedding1_72.jpg VIDEO: Cancer patient walks down aisle in wedding thrown by friends

    A year ago, Schandera Jordan was diagnosed with a rare form cervical cancer. And months after a radical hysterectomy, doctors confirmed the worst: The cancer had spread to her lungs and pancreas.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • r041614giregabby.jpg SLIDE SHOW: Teen with cystic fibrosis finds widespread support

    When the Nevada Show Choir performs its spring show on stage, it’s impossible to pick out the student with cystic fibrosis because there are no outward clues.
    Gabby Gire, 18, is just another performer. She sings, she dances, she smiles for the audience.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Enrollment open for Joplin summer school

    Enrollment is now open for the Joplin school district’s summer school session, which will run Wednesday, June 4, though Tuesday, July 1.

    April 19, 2014

  • r041814capbus4.jpg Funding shortfall could hinder public transportation in Southeast Kansas

    For the past two years, Pittsburg State University sophomore Travis Cook has been using public transportation to get to and from his classes. He began using the bus his freshman year, when he didn’t have a vehicle to drive even to the grocery store — which is said to be the case for many who use the service.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    Family members of a teenage girl whose suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police officers and emergency medical technicians are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department. Kevin and Julissa Russell and their son, Brant Russell, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court. The action filed on the Russells’ behalf by Kansas City attorney Andrew Protzman names the city, the Police Department and Officers Austin Wolf and Tyler Christensen as defendants.

    April 18, 2014

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

Missouri Republicans are considering a new approach to prevent federal agents from enforcing laws the state considers to be infringements on gun rights: barring them from future careers in state law enforcement agencies. Do you think this proposal has merit?

Yes
No
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter