By: Alvergia Guyton & Mary Laquay
Our uncles died less than 40 days before the end of World War I. Though we never met them, we will never forget what they meant to our family, community, and nation. But now, unless the Supreme Court intervenes, the memorial bearing their name could be destroyed.
They came from different worlds. Alvergia’s uncle, John Henry Seaburn Jr., was the son of a laborer. He was assigned to a segregated African-American regiment with the 93rd Division of the U.S. Army, but under French command — the gallant “Red Hand Division.” Mere days from his 21st birthday, he died from wounds received in battle.
Thomas Fenwick, Mary’s uncle, descended from a Revolutionary War patriot. Before he went off to war, he was a standout pitcher for the “Hyattsville nine,” a popular baseball team in Maryland. Like too many soldiers in WWI, he died of pneumonia after being gassed at the front. His mother received official word of his burial 100 Christmas mornings ago on Dec. 25, 1918.