This Sunday 100 years will have passed since World War I ended. One year later President Woodrow Wilson honored what was then called “Armistice Day” which evolved over the years to what we know as Veterans Day.
My husband is an Air Force Veteran and my father was an Army veteran. My grandfathers were veterans. As I was working on projects for clients over the years, I would come across parks and monuments that honored those who served. I will be sharing some of the pictures and stories beginning today, with my hometown of Rome, Ga., which is fitting since the tomb of a World War I soldier is in the city’s Myrtle Hill.
The story of Private Charles Graves is told as part of the tour of the historic cemetery and his tomb is the centerpiece of Veterans Plaza. Graves enlisted in 1917 when he was just 18 years old and died the next year. He was first buried in France after being killed in Germany. Graves’ body was brought to Arlington Cemetery and he was the “known soldier” buried beside the “unknown soldier” there. But Graves’ mother wanted him to be buried in Rome. Graves was buried in Floyd County’s Antioch cemetery before Rome residents decided he should be in a more prominent place. His body was moved to its final resting place at Myrtle Hill Cemetery in 1923.
Veterans Plaza was not officially dedicated until 2000 and it is now the site of Rome’s annual Veterans Day remembrance. Plaques with two well-known World War I poems, “In Flanders Fields” and “We Shall Keep the Faith” are located in the plaza along with a statue honoring the fallen. The walkway is lined with bricks that list that names of veterans and their years of service.
As we mark the 100 year anniversary of the Great War on Sunday, Myrtle Hill Cemetery’s Veterans Plaza and the Tomb of the Known Soldier is the perfect place to honor those who fought for our freedom.