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First WWI American civilian death commemorated

• Apr 22, 2017 at 12:00 PM

ATTICA — The village of Attica will honor the 100th anniversary of the death of Attica citizen Clara Edith Work Ayres this Memorial Day.

Mrs. Ayers volunteered to serve as an American Red Cross nurse to the troops in World War I. Mrs. Ayres was killed when she was in transport to France aboard the USS Mongolia. A training mission was in progress when an explosion occurred, caused by a malfunction of a deck gun, killing Mrs. Ayres and other medical personnel that were observing the practice. Mrs. Ayres is recognized by the U.S. Congress as the first American civilian death of World War I. Mrs. Ayres is buried alongside her husband in the Attica Venice Cemetery.

Mrs. Ayres will be remembered at this year’s Memorial Day celebration. A speaker will provide Mrs. Ayres’ story. A historical marker will be unveiled at the program and a wreath will be placed on her grave.

These events will occur at the entertainment building at the Attica Fairgrounds on Lemmon St in Attica, beginning with a parade at 10 a.m. A community lunch will follow at the K of C Hall on Heyman Drive, Attica.

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