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If your gonna be a bear..
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This article is in the Dayton Daily News this morning. There are only 3 living US WW1 Veterans.




Mary McCarty: Ohio has living link to World War I
Retired Bowling Green professor oldest-known survivor at age 108
By Mary McCarty

Staff Writer

Friday, April 06, 2007

Once they numbered 4,734,991, the doughboys who served in "The Great War" that America entered 90 years ago today.

Now there are only three.

The oldest known survivor is 108-year-old Russell Coffey, a retired Bowling Green professor affectionately known as "Doc" at the Blakeley Care Center in North Baltimore, Ohio, a few miles north of Findlay.

Coffey "never dreamed" he would be one of the last surviving veterans. "I was just lucky," he said.

The United States lost 116,516 soldiers "over there" during the 19-month engagement. Coffey enlisted in the Army in October 1918 while still a college student. "Everybody thought it was the proper thing to do," he explained.

The war ended a month later and he never shipped out. "I was sorry then and I wanted to go, but I'm glad now," he said.

After the war, novelists like Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald chronicled the Lost Generation — named not only for the young men who lost their lives, but also the surviving soldiers' disillusionment when they returned home.

Soon, the Lost Generation will be gone for good. On Coffey's 108th birthday last September, there were 17 living WWI veterans. Two more veterans died last week, prompting USA Today to report that the Department of Veteran Affairs has not planned a ceremony to mark the death of the last veteran. The British government is planning a lavish ceremony in Westminster Abbey to mark the passing of the last of its seven living veterans.

As a result of the USA Today story, the National World War I Museum is scrambling to make plans for a national tribute. The staff at the Blakeley Care Center hopes it is their beloved "Doc" Coffey who makes history. "It is an honor to have such a special man here at our facility," said activities director Linda Newlon.

He is Ohio's living link with the Great War that so profoundly shaped our world.

But very soon, the last of the 4,734,991 will be gone, and a generation will truly be lost.
 
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