Pentagon unveils portraits of "forgotten" WWI veterans

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With an old soldier of 107 looking on, the Pentagon on Thursday unveiled portraits of World War One veterans and the photographer behind them voiced hope they would remind officials their decisions affect real lives.

The large, striking photographs of nine veterans, taken when they were aged 105 or older, will hang on the walls of the Pentagon as reminders of a war Defense Secretary Robert Gates said was not well understood or remembered in America.

"There is no big memorial on the National Mall. Hollywood has not turned its gaze in this direction for decades," Gates said at a ceremony to present the photographs.

"Yet few events have so markedly shaped the world we live in as the epic blood struggle we know as the Great War," he said. "During 18 months of fighting, we suffered more deaths -- over 116,000 -- than in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan combined," Gates said.

Sharing the stage with Gates was 107-year-old Frank Buckles of Charles Town, West Virginia, one of only two surviving Americans who served in World War One, the 1914-1918 conflict the United States entered in 1917.

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