Wednesday, February 25, 2009

In Flanders Fields . . .

Sometimes you just don't have a gravestone.

"In Flanders Fields" was written by John McRae, a Canadian army officer after attending the funeral of a friend killed in World War 1. The poem has become a symbol for remembering those who were killed in the "War to End All Wars."

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery contains the remains of an unidentified American soldier who was killed in France in "The War to End All Wars." The inscription on the tomb is "Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God."

While I have no evidence to prove it, it is possible that the body in the tomb is that of my great uncle, Robert Luther Cheek. He was born 02 November1894 in Buffington, GA and died somewhere in France on 29 September 1918. His body was never identified. Ironically, the day he was killed was the day Bulgaria, the first of the Central Powers to surrender, signed the armistice.

A few years after the war, a program began to allow the families of those who had been killed in France to travel to visit the cemeteries where their loved ones were buried. In the picture below, my great grandmother Carrie Savannah Cheek is picture beside a gravestone in France. I had always assumed that she was standing beside Luther's grave, but only recently learned that his body had never been identified and the inscription on the gravestone is "HERE RESTS IN HONORED GLORY AN AMERICAN SOLDIER KNOWN BUT TO GOD," the same inscription that is on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.


  1. I really like this story. The picture of the lady in the dress is super.

  2. Thanks. I'm sorry I never got to know her. I understand she was quite a character. I've been told that she and my grandmother Cheek didn't get along and my grandmother never talked about her or my great grandfather. My grandfather Cheek died the year I was born so I never knew him either.

  3. WOW! What a wonderful story and the photos are just as touching. The man you call GRANDFATHER was a very Handsome man. I hope where ever he may rest that he is having a "Grand "Ole Time" as my great-grandfather would say.

  4. Thanks for sharing this story.My grand-uncle Harry was killed in France near the end of WWI and is said to be buried there. I have an old photograph of the cross. His parents erected a memorial stone in the same cemetery here at home in Maine where they would later be buried. I also have the letters that Harry wrote home to his family while he was in the war.