Renovations begin on neglected World War I memorial on National Mall

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After nearly 40 years without any major upkeep, the World War I Memorial on the National Mall is finally getting some attention, with renovations financed by federal economic stimulus money.

It has become a race to complete the project because of the failing health of Frank Buckles, the 109-year-old former U.S. Army corporal who is the last surviving American veteran of World War I.

The monument is temporarily closed to the public as work begins, but through a safety fence workers Friday could be seen clearing away overgrown brush and removing some large trees that obscured the marble gazebo.

Buckles in recent years found himself the spokesman for his comrades as the last man standing. The retired West Virginia farmer wants national status bestowed on the memorial, which was constructed in the 1930s to honor some 26,000 men from the District of Columbia who served in the "Great War."....

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