Frank W. Buckles, The Last U.S. Veteran of World War I

Frank Woodruff Buckles was born on February 1st, 1901. At the age of 16, he enlisted in the U.S. Army by convincing recruiting officers that he was, in fact, 21. In this short film, Buckles recalls this time so long ago and the last year of the Great War. There are two particularly moving passages in this documentary: when he talks about the difficulties veterans experienced after returning home, and when Buckles voices his opinions on war in general, and particularly war today (“How did we get involved in this thing, Iraq? It was crazy, we have no damn business in there.”)

Frank died on February 27th, 2011, at the age of 110. The last surviving U.S. veteran of World War I, he was properly laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery (find video of the ceremony here). There are two tributes to Mr Buckles that offer more insight into his life: a short video by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and an obituary in the Washington Post.

By profession, Matthias Rascher teaches English and History at a High School in northern Bavaria, Germany. In his free time he scours the web for good links and posts the best finds on Twitter.

The Gettysburg Address Animated

On November 19, 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered one of the best-known speeches in history: The Gettysburg Address. To pay homage to it, designer Adam Gault and illustrator Stefanie Augustine have rendered the immortal words in beautiful black-and-white typographic animation that visually captures the essence of Lincoln’s words as they are spoken.

For more on The Gettysburg Address, the Library of Congress has a fascinating exhibition of materials related to the address, including the earliest known draft and a short video on how the speech came to be. And for another visual treat, we recommend Jack Levin’s Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address Illustrated — a poignant and powerful selection of images which, coupled with Lincoln’s equally poignant and powerful words, are bound to put a lump in your throat.

Maria Popova is the founder and editor in chief of Brain Pickings, a curated inventory of eclectic interestingness and indiscriminate curiosity. She writes for Wired UK, GOOD Magazine, BigThink and Huffington Post, and spends a disturbing amount of time curating interestingness on Twitter.

Related Content:

Stephen Colbert & Louis CK Recite The Gettysburg Address, With Some Help from Jerry Seinfeld

Hear Johnny Cash Deliver Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

Behold Charles Laughton Delivering the Gettysburg Address in its Entirety in Ruggles of Red Gap

An Animated Neil deGrasse Tyson Gives an Eloquent Defense of Science in 272 Words, the Same Length as The Gettysburg Address

Talking American History with Joseph Ellis

Let me quickly call your attention to an interview with Joseph Ellis, the Pulitzer Prize-winning and bestselling historian, who most recently published American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies in the Founding of the Republic. In this casual, wide-ranging conversation (listen below or here) with Russ Roberts, the host of EconTalk, Ellis talks through the founding years of the United States — the break with England, the Revolutionary War, the drafting of the constitution and the forging of the nation. A good conversation for history buffs, and an informative talk for those less familiar with America’s beginnings. You can generally find EconTalk (which typically focuses on economics) here: iTunes – RSS Feed – Web Site.

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.