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Indiana events honor Corporal Gresham, Veterans Day

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, United States World War One Centennial Commission

Hamby speaks at Gresham eventTerry Hamby, Chair of the United States World War One Centennial Commission, speaks at an Evansville, Indiana event honoring Corporal James Bethel Gresham one of the first three American soldiers killed in combat in WWI.A number of events took place in Indiana last week, to mark the approach of Veterans Day, and to honor the centenary of the first U.S. Army soldier killed in combat during World War I. That first soldier, Corporal James Bethel Gresham, hailed from the town of Evansville Indiana, and was lost on November 3rd, 1917. United States World War One Centennial Commission Chair Terry Hamby, attended these events as representative of the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission.

On Thursday, November 2nd, the Indiana Military Museum, in Vincennes, Indiana, dedicated a new addition to their collection -- a fully-restored World War I-era M1917 tank. (See prior coverage of the tank restoration project here.)

Hamby joined Jim Corrigan, Chair of the Indiana WWI Centennial Committee, and Mr. Pat Waters, grandson of General George S. Patton, at the event with the museum staff & supporters. At a celebration banquet that evening, Chair Hamby expressed his thanks and solidarity with the community, in their great effort to keep alive the memory of our World War I veterans.

On Friday, Chair Hamby took part in a wreath-laying ceremony at Corporal Gresham's graveside, in Evansville. At the ceremony, French Consul General Guillaume Lacroix said, "He is a hero who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country, but also for my country... The region where he was killed in action still keeps the memory alive of Corporal Gresham, himself, and his two companions who died with him".

The Governor of Indiana, Eric Holcombe, also attended the ceremony, and honored Chair Hamby for the Commission's public outreach efforts, presenting him with a certificate making him an "Honorary Hoosier".

IMG 3064Wreath laying at the headstone of Corporal James Bethel Gresham, one of the first three American soldiers killed in combat in WWI.

Tank collageWW1CC Chair Terry Hamby at the Indiana Military Museum (IMM) for arrival & dedication of the World War I-era M1917 tank. Right photo: Hamby (left) joins Jim Corrigan, Chair of the Indiana World War I Centennial Commission, (center) and Indiana Governor Eric Holcombe in front of the museum's restored WWI tank. Left photo: Hamby with WWI re-enactors at the IMM.

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