The last doughboy: The life and times of Frank Buckles

World War I veteran Frank Buckles reminisces about the war at his home in Charles Town, West Virginia, May 22, 2007. The last known living American veteran of World War I died Sunday, February 27, 2011, at 110. (Pete Souza/Chicago Tribune/MCT)

By: Logan Pierce, assignment editor

“He wanted to serve his nation. He was young and looking for adventure.”

“He never said it was difficult. War forged character in him.”

In 1917 he sailed over to Europe on the Carpathia, the ocean liner responsible for rescuing survivors of the Titanic five years earlier.

“He went from riding a horse to school to driving ambulances through England, France and Germany.”

“When he told his grandmother that he enlisted, she told him about his uncle that had served in the Revolutionary War.”

One of his fondest memories from his service in WWI occurred while escorting the German POW’s. Several of them had instruments, and would perform concerts for the Americans. Buckles remembers them as being friendly people.

Returning home a corporal, Buckles attended a business school in Oklahoma City for several months. While in Oklahoma, Frank Buckles met one of his heroes, General Pershing, in 1921. Working for a shipping company, over in Manila, Philippines. On Dec. 8, 1941 [day after Pearl Harbor], the Japanese captured him. For the next 39 months, Frank Buckles was a civilian POW. He went in weighing 140 pounds, but as Japan began losing the war, food became in short supply. By the time his camp was liberated in 1945, he had lost 50 pounds.

After surviving a Second World War, Buckles decided it was time to settle down. On a West Virginia farm, he lived quite contentedly, with his wife and daughter. He rode his own tractor until he turned 100 and his age began to catch up with him.

Of all the technological advancements Buckles has witnessed over a century, the ones he appreciates the most are radio and television.

What Buckles loved best about America was freedom. His ancestors came over from Europe in the 1600’s.

“Education is the most critical pursuit in life. Never stop learning and always do the best that you can.”

According to Buckles, the most negative change in America has been the transformation of patriotism.  “During World War I and World War II, we were all united. Todays politics is polarized.”

“The most important thing in life is to keep your word.”

Buckles regrets that it’s taken so long for the soldiers of World War I to receive the recognition they deserve.

In spite of difficulties, Frank Buckles always tried to keep a positive outlook on life. He attributes his longevity to “always looking forward to living the next day.”

By 15th Street News Posted in News

Editorial: Discrimination through advertising poses question to RSC

RSC has no shortage of diversity. Wherever you go, there is someone who doesn’t look like anyone else.

And this is something to be proud of. Our campus caters to the everyman: tall, short, black, white, et cetera. We are the community college of choice, where people from all walks of life choose to attend because we are accepting, understanding and tolerant.

But there is a fine line to every acceptance, and there is always a person in charge of determining where the line begins, and where it ends.

It has recently come to our attention that RSC may not be as accepting and tolerant as we all once thought. Library Club President, and veteran student, Jillian Whitaker struck up a conversation recently that really made the gears start turning in our heads.

Whitaker, a former Miss Black Rose State, has an academic portfolio that could make John Kennedy look like a slacker. She maintains an above 3.5 GPA, various community outreach volunteerism and possessing the “go-getter” attitude needed for over-achieving, driven and strong women looking to make a mark on the world. Whitaker seems like the perfect candidate to represent the RSC community at any opportunity.

And she strives to do this, everyday. But, when it came time for the campus to decide who should be representatives on the cover of the 2011 Summer and Fall Schedule book, Whitaker was told she wasn’t appropriate for it.

“It was because I have purple hair,” Whitaker explained. “I was told that my purple hair would send the wrong image or message about [RSC].”

Whitaker was also told that her hair was “fun,” but not appropriate for the promotion. “I was asked if I could dye my hair black or a natural hair color in time for the photo shoot, which was the following day.”

“I feel discriminated against because I express myself through my hair,” Whitaker said. “My feelings were hurt because I love this school, I want to represent this school as a strong, successful student.”

The new booklet pictures three “RSC students,” who appear to be studying together: an older African-American male, a young white male and what appears to be a young white female, although, through research, she is actually of Hispanic decent.

This is what our administration believes is the perfect representation of our student body. And they are dead wrong.

Where are our military service people, who are sometimes unable to change before classes and show up in uniform? Where are the “metal-head” students who walk about with alternative fashions? Where are the students that, in the warmer Oklahoma months, wear shorts that say “Juicy” on the butt, or wear extremely low tops, letting more than just their education hang out?

Why aren’t these people, who we see everyday in our lectures, in the cafeteria and the halls, on the cover of any RSC publication?

They all have what society calls a normal, or natural, hair color. They are black, Hispanic, white, Asian, et cetera. Why are they not pictured on the cover?

What are our disabled students? Our continuing education students? What opportunities are they given to represent their beloved campus?

This isn’t an issue of who is better suited to grace our scheduling covers, our advertising billboards. This is an issue of discrimination; advertising discrimination.

Only those who are pretty, look normal, no defects or abnormalities need apply.

“Our ancestors won the battle of racial discrimination, but what of our battle for self expression,” Whitaker asks.

And thanks to Whitaker, the question now becomes, who is responsible for deeming whom is worthy of being the “typical RSC student”?

Is purple hair really a bad representation for our campus? The 40 and 50 year old employees of RSC, who’s generation looked down upon radical hair color, homosexuality and outspoken youth would say yes.

But the greatest population, the driving force of this campus, would say no.

This is a battle of individual perceptions. As human beings, we will all have our own opinions, and those opinions may not always match our neighbors.

But when a college’s slogan is “We Believe in You,” no one can help but to ask their selves, do you really RSC? Do you believe in us, or do you believe in what you want us to be?

By 15th Street News Posted in Editorial

Poetry at Rose

By: Brittany McDaniel, news editor

The 23rd annual Poetry at Rose showcased a variety of written talents Fri., March 4, including original pieces by English professors Noelle Burr, Kristin Hahn and Trixie Walther.

Among the featured guests were The Quartet, a four-poet group founded in 2006 by Carl Sennhenn, professor of English, Carol Hamilton, former Poet Laureate, Dena Madole, and Sarah Webb.

The group performed several original works, reciting the poetry in turns with the aid of soft voices, fake squeaky toys and even at one point, a child’s accordion. “We had a little [microphone] trouble, but otherwise it was great fun,” Hamilton said.

“The audience was very responsive. I find that’s very typical of [RSC],” said Madole.

Of the poetry readings, Burr was first, reciting her poem “Childhood,” about the fleeting simplicity of life as a child.

Hahn took the stage next to read her original work “On My 35th Birthday,” a poem displaying the mental debate about the choice between freedom and parenthood, which she called “fitting” as she is currently pregnant with her first child.

Walther read her piece titled “The Old Barn,” which she created to a particular childhood memory. “I grew up in Newfoundland and we had this big farm. The Coca-Cola company rented our barn and they stored their empty bottles there… we children thought it was so much fun.”

After the readings the RSC Jazz Combo performed selections “Nature Boy” and “Blue Trane” under the direction of Chris White before the awarding of the James Axley Awards for poetry and fiction writing.

The Axley award began in 1994 after the death of Dr. James Axley, a former RSC professor and faculty editor for Pegasus, the annual literary publication showcasing writing, photography and art of RSC students, faculty and staff.

Hahn presented the Axley poetry award to Jack Smith, psychology major, for his poem “Five,” and the Axley fiction award to Josh Wolfe, social sciences major.

“[Winning the award] means everything to me,” Smith said. “It gives me initiative to keep writing. You don’t really know if it’s worth it to keep writing until someone tells you you’re good.”

By 15th Street News Posted in News

New on Netflix: “Zany platoon buddies” uplifts columnists’ spirits

A drawback of movie reviewing that uses a medium allowing one to pick and choose material is the overabundance of choice.

Too often, I’m up in the wee hours Monday morning, trying to decide which of the various movies and TV shows I’ve watched over the past week is deserving of getting praised, slammed, or scrambled and served over toast, usually with an old episode of “Saturday Night Live” playing in the background.

My brother once told me that I need training on decision-making.

That’s when it hit me. “What kind of training?”

“Ahhhhaaaarmy training, sir!”


This coming-of-middle-age tale of a slacker taxi driver, John (Bill Murray), and a pushover English teacher for immigrants who just can’t say no, Russell (Harold Ramis), defines the genre of absurdist 1980s comedy as told by the long list of SNL alumnus.

Murray, after quitting his job by abandoning his cab, and passenger, on a bridge and losing his girlfriend to his own lack of direction, decides that the easiest way to straighten himself out is the United States Army still fresh from the horrors of Vietnam.

After quite easily convincing Ramis to join him in his misadventure, the dumb duo fumble their way through basic training and their first assignment in Italy, becoming the great Army heroes no one thought they could be.

Common in SNL-linked comedies of the 80s, “Stripes” starts off normally enough, then takes a hard left into the haze-riddled flights of silly fantasy that come from writing the last third of a script high on shrooms.

In example, it is semi-believable that a pair of 30-something army recruits could bed a pair of 20-something Military Police, however once you get to the second half of the plot, well, let’s just say I haven’t seen military equipment that “inspired” since I saw the USS Substandard in 1990’s “Going Under.”

Murray goes full steam with his “slightly stupid, lovable oaf” character that defined his career until turning grey, and Ramis’ supporting performance makes me sad he hasn’t been in anything notable since the “Ghostbusters” movies.

The cast of zany platoon buddies is rounded out with solid supporting performances by such icons as Judge Reinhold (“Beverly Hills Cop”), the late John Candy (“Canadian Bacon”), John Larroquette (“Boston Legal”) and Warren Oates (from the original “True Grit”).

EDITORIAL: Bleak future to come from budget cuts

Teachers get a bad rap, and not just from students. Many parents, community members and average Joe’s have had their own experiences with teachers in the past, arguing over bad grades and missed assignments.

But there are many teachers that can be recalled after a 20-year gap in relationship from former, and some present, students.

Many of these teachers deserve special recognition for their commitment to service, but rarely see any. Even more so, many of these individuals also deserve pay raises and benefits that can substantially uphold their families, and they see neither or these either.

Lately, in the media, we have seen a growth in people exercising their rights. From Egypt to Libya and now the United States, citizens have gone to battle with their government for their freedoms and rights, not just as citizens of their country, but also as human beings.

Some have even died for their beliefs, never to see the day when their peers are granted the meager askings they so deserve.

Teachers in Wisconsin have been exercising those civil rights granted to us by our Founding Fathers, asking for the repairing of an $800 million cut in education funding.

And it’s not just the teacher’s who are worried about their positions. With a decrease in instructors in Wisconsin public schools, there will be an increase in classroom size, where one-on-one specialization with students will be lost.

Wisconsin isn’t the only state that is dealing with public school problems. Oklahoma’s own Mid-Del school district presented a vote during their last meeting Feb. 28, where their decision to shut down two elementary schools and an office building set parents into a rage.

Approximately 803 students and 50 instructors will be “moved” according to board officials. Moved where? Well, they’ve yet to figure that one out.

During this time of rearrangement in our school systems, people have been bringing up the subject of deserving. Do teachers deserve benefits that support their whole family? Do teachers deserve more pay for working more than 8 hours a day with students in just a classroom setting?

Who is allowed to make these decisions concerning people’s jobs: the superintendents, school district boards, or the mayor?

Regardless of who is responsible for changing the lives of the people that are responsible the nation’s youth, we need to think back on the instructors who made a difference in our educational career.

Who helped you read your first book in first grade? Who taught you the colors of the rainbow and then asked you to draw one? Who taught you the algebra that you’re destined to use at some point in your life?

We challenge you RSC. Remember who changed your life during your most impressionable years, and then find them. Whether using Facebook, Linked-In, or the good old fashioned Pony Express, thank them for all they did for you; for the nights they missed their own kid’s soccer practice to grade your papers.

It may be the smallest gesture, but it will pack the most impact for it’s recipient.


By 15th Street News Posted in Editorial

Lecture talks WikiLeaks and subsequent protests for democracy – DRAFT

By: Brittany McDaniel, news editor

Ben Fenwick, coordinator of public affairs, discussed the significant impart technology has on democracy, Wed., Feb. 23, during the Great Issues Lecture Series, posing the question, “Does technology help democracy?”

At the heart of the discussion was the current uprising of protestors in the Middle East. The highly publicized release of U.S. classified documents sparked the discussion of corruption within government. This hit certain countries hardest, where democracy runs low on the list of priorities. Autocracies, monarchies and dictators of the Arab world took a hard hit from an angry public.

The government in Tunisia was the first to tumble from the combined efforts of the people. U.S. Embassy cables described the Tunisian regime with regard to problems with corruption in its form of government. The cable read, “Tunisia is a police state, with little freedom of expression…and serious human rights problems.” It went on to read that the problem was with the fact that one president ruled the nation for over 20 years, used police force as a form of damage control and lost touch with the Tunisian people.

In essence, the cable publicly stated something the Tunisian people were already aware of. In releasing this information to the public, WikiLeaks allowed for a sort of conversation to take place among the citizens. Information such as this was released through several other cables relating to similar countries. This in turn began a revolution that made its way through Tunisian, spilling into Egypt, Libya and Bahrain. Other countries such as Jordan, Yemen, Iran, Algeria and Iraq also began talking of regime reform on the social media site Twitter.

Fenwick showed an interactive map with recent tweets from journalists concerning protests in the Arab world and the Middle East. This technology worked not only to sound off the events going on, but also to connect people with the information instantaneously. Likeminded people were able to connect and form an organized front with the aid of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.

Fenwick reminded the audience that the uprising abroad affected not just the people of the nations undergoing democracy in action. Jenan El-Bakoush, secretary of public relations and marketing, spoke of family members living in Libya. Her uncle was taken to a police station and questioned, then later released as protestors overtook the station.  She remarked that seeing democracy in action was both inspiring and frightening when she thought of how this affected the people in a country her own family once called home.

The Middle Eastern protests are not an isolated incident. The U.S. too is facing an era of change, and with it, citizens utilizing their individual rights to protest.  Fenwick ended his lecture with the question, “So what comes next? Are we at the two percent mark of what is to come?”

Leadership Boot Camp

By: Bryan Trude, assistant editor

Around 150 high school seniors from about the Oklahoma City metro area attended the 2011 Leadership Boot Camp, hosted by the RSC Ambassadors and Leadership students Fri., Feb. 25, in the Professional Training and Education Center.

“[We do this] to prepare the students for college, to help them with that transition,” Erica Alvarez, coordinator for recruitment of special populations, said. “We have break out sessions to help them develop their leadership skills and to get them thinking [about] leadership scholarships, or any kind of scholarships really.”

Students rotated during their break out sessions covering topics including time management and academic honesty. Presiding over the sessions were members of the RSC Ambassadors, the Frances White Hughes Scholars and the Presidents’ Leadership Class.

Also speaking to the students were President Dr. Terry Britton and Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Jeanie Webb, with a special appearance from Rumble the Bison, mascot of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder.

Students were given the opportunity to have photos taken with Rumble and the RSC mascot, Rowdy the Raider.

Attendees also were presented with a motivational presentation by Adjunct Professor John Keilty, a former Navy pilot and coach of baseball and football at Mount St. Mary Catholic high school in Oklahoma City.

“It is a competitive world,” Towry Barnard, director of prospective student services, said. “Upon graduation, students will be competing with people from around the world.”

“We are preparing our students to have the academic knowledge and leadership skills to succeed in the workforce. When our students leave, hopefully they have grown as an individual.”

New on Netflix: I have to admit, dear readers that I find myself in a quandary.

By: Bryan Trude, assistant editor

While anyone who ever achieved space in a publication to write reviews will tell you writing negative ones are much more fun than positive ones, it’s not that I go out of my way to watch things I would hate. I try to like what I watch so I can write some good things.

Unfortunately, sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way.


Released in 2009, this biting expose by Stephanie Soechtig and Jason Lindsey examines the impact of the bottled water industry on the environment and local water supplies.

As bottled water steadily become…you know what? No. No, no, no, absolutely not.

Besides being horribly biased and slanted, this is incredibly boring. Hold on and I’ll try to find something I can write good things about.

Cats Don’t Dance

Yes, much better.

“Cats Don’t Dance” is the lone legacy of Turner Entertainment’s feature animation unit. The studio’s only full length animated feature – their only other work was the animated sequences from “The Pagemaster” – the film is a musical, fanciful homage to the MGM musicals of the early 20th century.

This film, which bombed at the theaters, stars the vocal talents of Scott Bakula. Bakula is best known for two roles: one where he often played a man trapped in a woman’s body (Quantum Leap); and singlehandedly ruining a great science-fiction franchise (Star Trek: Enterprise).

As a “song and dance cat” intent on becoming a Hollywood star in the face of discrimination and racism from humans against animals, Bakula’s character is almost sickeningly positive and upbeat, which is all right every now and again.

The film is also chock full of references, with the primary antagonist (Darla Dimple, voiced by Ashley Peldon) being an evil spoof of Shirley Temple. Other classic actors seen in the film include Joan Crawford, Mae West, Clark Gable and W.C. Fields.

“Cats Don’t Dance” is a great time waster for people who like musicals or have kids. At least it’s better than a preachy documentary about bottled water.

First ever Rose Review

By: Bryan Trude, assistant editor

A multitude of performances were showcased during the first Rose Review Talent Show, Thurs., Feb. 24, in the Student Center’s Main Dining Room.

The free-of-cost show featured 14 acts ranging from musical, dance, sign language, poetry and cheer routines.

“[The show] was great,” President Britton said, who attended with wife Kay. “We have tons of talent on this campus.”

The musical acts featured both original compositions as well as songs by well-known artists such as Michael Jackson, Alicia Keys and the Dixie Chicks.

The contestants competed for various scholarship amounts: first place with $500, second place with $300 and third place with $200. The audience was also asked to vote for a fan favorite, who would receive a scholarship in the amount of $100.

“We like to give a show, and we also want the scholarship,” Ritchel Schultz, nursing major, said. “We want to be able to compete.”

Schultz, along with backup dancers Hsiaowei Liu, nursing major, and Megan Morris, fitness and nutrition major, received the first place and fan favorite prizes for their Tahitian dancing routine.

Second place was awarded to Joshua Silsby, criminal justice major, for his vocal and dance performance of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.”

Third place was awarded to Jack Smith, psychology major, who performed an acoustic version of “Drops of Jupiter” by Train.

“I thought I did a pretty awesome moonwalk for a carpet stage,” Silsby said, whom dressed the part of Jackson, all the way down to a single glittering, white glove.

Britton expressed optimism that the Rose Review will not only be continued, but will start to be held “more than once a year.”

Time management workshop stresses organization

By: Brittany McDaniel, feature editor

Amber Mitchell, director of student support services, hosted the Time Management workshop Tues., Feb. 24, helping students to learn the basic principles of managing a busy schedule.

Mitchell started out by giving attendees a tangible example. “Imagine there is a back that credits your account with $86,400 each morning, but doesn’t carry the balance over the next day. What would you do if that happened?”

“You’d spend it all,” Mitchell rationalized. In the scenario, the account balance represents the 86,400 seconds people are allotted in one day.

“The first step,” Mitchell said, “is knowing if you manage your time well.”

Setting priorities is the next step. Mitchell suggested pinpointing the things that are important, and decide what needs to be accomplished, adding that writing priorities and goals down can make them seem more real. “Once you identify your priorities, you need to make a plan to reach those goals.”

When planning tasks, consider three types of objectives: not important but urgent, important but not urgent and important and urgent. “This may seem a little strange because as a society, when something is urgent we consider it important,” Mitchell said.

She used a ringing phone as an example of something that is urgent, but not necessarily important. Tasks that are important but not urgent are items like final exams or tests. They are planned in advance, but are not in the immediate future, and may be put off until they become more urgent.

Knowing when you are the most productive during the day can be a helpful tool in setting up a schedule. Mitchell discussed how to allocate time in a schedule for different tasks. . “Evaluate how much time you spend doing each thing. Determine how long you are going to study,” Mitchell explained.

She advised trying not to cram too much into one activity. “Allow yourself to take small breaks. Study for one hour, then take a quick break, and then go back to studying. This will make your studying more efficient.”

Mitchell provided a list of “timewasters” to avoid. Things like poor planning, television and the Internet were the main sources of time wasting Mitchell discussed, saying the Internet is one activity where people lose a significant amount of time.

Learning how to organize daily activities is paramount to successful time management. Mitchell ended the workshop saying, “Organization is key. It really comes down to being organized and committing yourself to the things you planned.”