Richard Pierro/Will Everett
Tony Pierro of Swampscott, Mass., is the last living U.S. veteran to have seen action at the bloody Meuse and Argonne offensives. He is 110 now. (Enlarge to see the full version of Pierro's 1918 enlistment photo.)
Tony Pierro of Swampscott, Mass. (pictured here in his 1918 enlistment photo), is the last living U.S. veteran to have seen action at the bloody Meuse and Argonne offensives. He is 110 now. Richard Pierro/Will Everett
The World War I Living History Project, a two-hour radio documentary hosted by Walter Cronkite, tells the stories of 12 of the remaning 14 veterans of World War I. For photos, video and audio of the men, visit the program's Web site.
Veterans Day, which is Saturday, was once called Armistice Day. It marked the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 when the guns fell silent in Europe, and the doughboys and sailors and Marines who'd gone to fight World War I could come home.
In the 88 years since, these men, too, have fallen silent. More than 4 million Americans served in World War I. Only 14 are left. The youngest is 106, the oldest 115.
Tony Pierro, who is 110 years old, is the last living U.S. veteran to have seen action at the bloody Meuse and Argonne offensives. An average of a thousand Americans died each day in the three weeks of fighting.
"I want to forget all those bad days. Thank God I came out alive," he says.
Some of the men were drafted; several of them lied about their age to enlist.
These men fought a war that isn't talked about much anymore. They lived before the invention of the airplane and beyond the advent of the Internet.
Will Everett crisscrossed the country to interview as many of the survivors of the Great War as he could find. These are their stories — about their battlefield experiences, the horrors of the trenches and what the war taught them.