Former Corporal Frank Buckles, the last surviving American veteran of World War I, has turned 109 today and is still hoping for a national memorial in Washington for his comrades. “Buckles is expected to deliver remarks during a quiet celebration Monday afternoon at his home in Charles Town, West Virginia. But the old ‘Doughboy’ -- as World War I American infantry troops were called -- has already been outspoken in recent years, urging congressional lawmakers to give federal recognition and a facelift to a run-down District of Columbia memorial in an overgrown, wooded area along the National Mall. In December, at 108, Buckles testified on Capitol Hill as lawmakers considered whether to fund renovation and give the site ‘national’ monument status. But rival legislation seeks the ‘national’ designation for a 1920s-era memorial located in Kansas City, Missouri. Congress has not yet decided on the legislation. In 2008, the old soldier came to Washington and visited that 1930s-vintage District memorial. In his wheelchair, helped along by a military aide, he slowly crossed the cracks in the flagstone walkway, and saw the cracks in the marble gazebo.”