FORT STEWART, Ga. (WSAV) — A Georgia soldier killed in action in World War I was recognized Monday night, more than a century after his death in France.
His family gathered to take part in a ceremony that was long overdue.
Reidsville native 1st Lt. Thomas Reed Beasley Sr. served with the 3rd Infantry Division and was awarded the Purple Heart Medal and World War I Victory Medal after his death in 1918.
But he was never properly recognized for his service and sacrifice.
The 3rd ID and Beasley’s family worked for months to get the medal in the hands of his grandchildren.
“We need to identify with our heroes, living, serving and the ones who are dead,” said 1st Lt. Beasley’s granddaughter, Kay Beasley Toups. “We’ve lost some of that, unfortunately, and this day has brought such peace to my mind because I know some of the patriotism is still there.
The Beasley family says they never met their grandfather but grew up hearing stories about him.
1st Lt. Beasley received his law degree from the University of Georgia in 1917 before enlisting in the Army.
He was killed at the age of 22, just shy of his 23rd birthday, according to the 3rd ID. At the time, his then-pregnant widow received only a telegram informing the family of his death.
Officials say he was a member of Company D, 4th Infantry, 5th Infantry Brigade, 3rd ID, American Expeditionary Forces, fighting in the frontline trenches when he was killed in action on Oct. 5, 1918, in the Argonne Forrest sector.
His remains were interred at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, Romagne-sous-Montfaucon, France.