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.