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11:00 am Clara Edith Ayres Memorial Ceremony @ Entertainment Building, Attica Fairgrounds
Clara Edith Ayres Memorial Ceremony @ Entertainment Building, Attica Fairgrounds
May 29 @ 11:00 am
In 1917, the first American civilian casualty of World War I was a Red Cross nurse, Clara Edith Ayres, of Attica. On Memorial Day, Ayres will be honored on the anniversary of her death with a ceremony in her hometown. The Attica Historical Society will hold a ceremony Monday in the entertainment building of the Attica Fairgrounds, following the 10 a.m. Memorial Day parade. Historian Marjorie Waterfield of Whitehouse, who has written about Ayres, will speak at the ceremony and a historical marker will be unveiled. The program will conclude with a graveside ceremony at Attica Venice Cemetery with a wreath laying on Ayres’ grave and the reading of a letter from American Red Cross President/CEO Gail McGovern honoring Ayres’ service and sacrifice. Lavinia Dock’s “The History of American Red Cross Nursing,” written in 1922, recounts the story of Clara Edith Ayres, Red Cross Nursing Badge 4809, as part of a unit assigned to the British Expeditionary Forces and No. 18 General Hospital at Dannes Camiers, France. According to the book, Ayres was killed instantly during an on-board gun drill, when a defective shell exploded prematurely. When the ship returned to New York, her body was returned to Attica, where she was met by the Ohio National Guard and escorted to the First Methodist Church, where she lay in state in a flag-draped coffin. She was buried with a military salute next to her husband, who had died a decade earlier.