Charles Graves enlisted in the Army on August 16, 1917; he was eighteen years old at the time. He was eventually shipped to Neuroy, France, a place he knew nothing about. On October 5, 1918 (fourteen months after arriving), Graves was killed by German artillery shrapnel on the Hindenberg Line. Soon after, he received full military honors and a military burial in France.
Charles’ mother received the telegram from the War Department that her son was killed in the war. After waiting four long years, she finally claimed her son’s body when he arrived on a troopship called the Cambria on March 29, 1922. The U.S. Government had the idea of creating the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and "Known Soldier" in Arlington Cemetery to honor World War I soldiers. Graves was chosen for "America's Known Soldier" by a blindfolded sailor who picked Graves' name from American soldier remains list, but his mother objected to his burial at Arlington. The War Department wanted to give his body flag draped coffin a parade on Fifth Avenue, in New York with generals, admirals, and politicians before his mother buried Graves in the cemetery near Antioch Church on April 6, 1922.
Graves, a fallen soldier, failed to remain in the cemetery for a long period of time; many local citizens decided that he should be buried in a place of honor. As a result, on September 22, 1923, his body was exhumed from Antioch Cemetery and relocated to Myrtle Hill Cemetery; as "America's Known Soldier" after his mother's death and his brother's agreement. Graves was buried a third and final time. On November 11, 1923, Armistice Day, Charles and the other 33 young men from Floyd County who died in World War I were honored with three Maxim guns and 34 magnolia trees.
Today, Graves final resting place is known as the Tomb of the Known Soldier. To many, the memorial site is a place of remembrance; a place that is meant to pay respect to all of the known fallen soldiers of any war.
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