In honor of Memorial Day, the Bucknellians in World War I team visited the Meuse-Argonne American cemetery to attend a special ceremony and visit the graves of two Bucknell veterans who rest there. Despite the heat, there was a surprisingly good turn out of both French and American attendees. The ceremony, performed in both French and English, featured invocations, blessings, and addresses from numerous public figures, including the Chargé d’Affaires at the American embassy in Paris, Ms. Uzra Zeya. The most moving part of the ceremony was, in my opinion, the playing of Taps and the National Anthems for both the United States and France. It was a truly touching ceremony that showed honor and gratitude for the American soldiers who had lost their lives in this sector.
After the ceremony, we were able to find the graves of both Baker Fairchild Spyker and William Chalmers Acheson. Baker Fairchild Spyker, who was a Lewisburg native, was enrolled at Bucknell with the intention of graduating in 1922. He volunteered for the military and served as a second lieutenant in various divisions until his death during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. William Acheson was a member of the class of 1916, with a degree in civil engineering. He was a second lieutenant of the 82nd Division’s Machine Gun Battalion, and he received a distinguished service cross for his bravery in moving his platoon to attack an open enemy flank during battle, where he was injured, but manned a machine gun until he died. At each site, Professor Del Testa said a few words about the individual and his service. We thanked Baker and William for their service by securing a Bucknell pennant beneath the American and French flags that had been placed at every grave site. The experience was both powerful and sobering, and we hope that we honored the sacrifices that these alumni had made.