Indiana events honor Corporal Gresham, Veterans Day
By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, United States World War One Centennial Commission
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".