In a Washington Post article, Mr. Frank W. Buckles reveals his secret to long life: “When you think you’re dying,” his son-in-law once heard him quip, “don’t.” Besides this most important decision, other secrets to his longevity included daily calesthenics and ravenous reading well into his eleventh decade.

“We have lost a living link to an important era in our nation’s history,” Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki said of Mr. Buckles, whose distant generation was the first to witness the awful toll of modern, mechanized warfare.

The War to End All Wars didn’t, unfortunately. Mr. Buckles was a civilian POW in the Second World War in the Philippines and miraculously was rescued in 1945. The man was truly a survivor.

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