LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — It was almost a hundred years ago, 99 to be exact, when World War I began.
The U.S. didn’t enter the war until 1917 when it was nearly over, but America lost 117,000 men in just 19 months.
Ten years ago, author Richard Rubin tracked down some remaining WWI vets and recorded their experiences.
“Often times they would tell me that these were stories they hadn’t told in 50, 60, 70 years,” Rubin told WNEW’s Judlyne Lilly. “And sometimes I asked why not and they would say ‘Because nobody asked.'”
The centenarians he spoke to recounted tales of living and serving in poverty (the G.I. bill wasn’t passed until 1944), trench warfare and living with “shell shock,” or what we now call PTSD, after the war.
Frank Woodruff Buckles, widely regarded as the last surviving American veteran of World War I, died in Charles Town, West Virginia, in February 2011. He was 110 years old.
Rubin’s book, “The Last of the Doughboys” was released May 21 and is widely available.