Charles Holliday was born in Kirkwood, Illinois sometime in 1889. He came to Knox in the fall of 1909 with the Class of 1913, but he only attended for a year. Feeling he was better suited to the Armed Forces, he enlisted soon after leaving Knox in August of 1910. For a few years, he served in the Philippines. He then spent nine months in China helping to establish better relations with the United States. After his nine months ended, Holliday stayed in China for a few more years to guard the American Embassy, finally coming back to the U.S. in 1915 where he was assigned to duty in the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
When war was declared in April, Holliday was among the first contingent of American troops--and probably the first man from Knox--to sail for France on June 12, 1917. Stunningly, he was promoted to second lieutenant a little over a month later on July 25, then promoted to first lieutenant a day later, and finally made a Captain of the 5th Regiment of the U.S. Marine Corps the day after that. This rapid promotion was almost unequalled at the time.
He assumed the role of a transportation officer between two brigades of Marines and served in this capacity during the battles of Chateau-Thierry (July 18, 1918) and Belleau Wood (June 1-26, 1918), the latter becoming infamous for being one of the bloodiest battles U.S. forces ever fought during the war. Holliday was counted among the casualties of this battle, where he was heavily gassed, suffering from shell shock (what we call now PTSD) as a result. He supposedly recovered enough to fight a month later at Chateau-Thierry, but due to the trauma from this battle and the one before it, he developed appendicitis, passing away on August 8, 1918. Holliday's leadership was fondly remembered by many of his fellow soldiers.
He is buried in the Suresnes American Cemetery near Paris.