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Party of the century

Party of the century
Party of the century
World War II veteran Lambert Elbert of Corydon speaks with a guest Saturday afternoon at his 100th birthday celebration at the VFW in Corydon. Photo by Kristen Cervenak
By Kristen Cervenak, Editor, [email protected]

The party of the century (literally) was held for Lambert Elbert on Saturday for his 100th birthday.

Inside a packed Old State Capitol VFW Post 2950 in Corydon from 2 to 5 p.m. were family members, friends, fellow veterans and community members who gathered to honor and celebrate Elbert’s milestone birthday.

However, becoming a centenarian is just one bullet point on Elbert’s resumé of strides and accomplishments.

The World War II veteran, born in January of 1923, grew up on a farm during the Great Depression and graduated high school in Corydon before serving as part of Gen. George Patton’s Army from 1943 to 1945 in “C” Company, 735th Tank Battalion, 26th infantry division, driving a tank by the name of Cincinnati II.

Shortly after D-Day, Elbert and the 735th Tank Battalion saw the shores of Normandy, also engaging in the Battle of the Bulge and assisting in the liberation of France.

On top of receiving two Purple Hearts and five campaign stars, Elbert also received the French Legion of Honor medal on Dec. 7, 2010, the rank of Chevalier (knight) and a signed letter from Nicolas Sarkozy, who served as president of France from 2007 to 2012, which read: “It is a great honor and privilege to present you with the Knight of the Legion of Honor. It is the highest honor that France can bestow upon those who have achieved remarkable deeds for France.”

The award was first given in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte and represents the highest honor of merit for both civilian and military conduct.

In addition to his war achievements, Elbert also owned his own barber shop with a pole that reads “Elbert’s Barbershop” along East Walnut Street in Corydon.

Dressed in a baseball cap that read, “100 never looked so good” and a sash that read, “Old as (a word resembling the word shirt),” Elbert had a hug or handshake for every attendee lined up to the door, waiting to speak to him.

His hands were cool and sturdy.

“I have lived a good life,” he said with a smile.