Last WWI Veteran Frank Buckles Spokesman Objects to WWI Memorial at Pershing Park, Vows to Fight to the Death to Get it on the Mall as Buckles did

David DeJonge was asked by the last WWI Veteran Frank Buckles to fight for a National WWI Memorial on the National Mall.

“This was the dying wish of the last doughboy. We frequently held hands and discussed this. He was adamant that it not be at Pershing Park and had to be on the mall,” DeJonge stated.

Last week the WWI Centennial Commission had a ceremonial ‘groundbreaking’ at Pershing Park. The park is an urban park located about a 30 minute walk from the National Mall, surrounded by 5 lanes of traffic and immense berms that are immovable.

“The park has been found eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places and essentially can’t be altered. As a result the WWICC is left with an area in the bottom of the old ice rink. They will refill the pond, add a flag pole and place a sculpture about 15-20 feet below street level.”

This effort has been fought from the beginning from architects, landscape groups and preservationists to protect this historic park. Thursday the VFW and American Legion gave $300,000 each to the new National World War I Memorial at Pershing Park. Neither final approval or permits have been issued for construction.

DeJonge is working on getting a proposal to President Trump asking that he cancel Pershing Park and place it on the National Mall next to the WWII Memorial where 2,000,000 people visit each month.

By trade DeJonge is a photographer based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He documented the last WWI Veterans and unveiled his work in the Pentagon on March 6, 2008. After that event Buckles and DeJonge visited the mall where he asked DeJonge to get a National WWI Memorial there.

“I will keep my word. Frank Buckles told me the most important lesson in life is to keep your word. I will,” said DeJonge.

“As a fellow artist I feel absolutely devastated that the architect Joe Weishaar was promised a prize and ended up refilling a pond with his talent- he deserves better.”

The effort to fight for the mall was offered to the WWI Centennial Commission last week and they refused to help.

For more information, please visit:

Media Contact
Company Name: World War One Memorial Foundation
Contact Person: David DeJonge
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 202-670-4407
City: Grand Rapids
State: Michigan
Country: United States


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About the Author: Carrie Brunner

Carrie Brunner grew up in a small town in northern New Brunswick. She studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married her husband one month later. They were then blessed with two baby boys within the first four years of marriage. Having babies gave their family a desire to return to the old paths – to nourish their family with traditional, homegrown foods; rid their home of toxic chemicals and petroleum products; and give their boys a chance to know a simple, sustainable way of life. They are currently building a homestead from scratch on two little acres in central Texas. There’s a lot to be done to become somewhat self-sufficient, but they are debt-free and get to spend their days living this simple, good life together with their five young children. Carrie writes mostly on provincial stories.
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