Don’t deny it. You know you’ve done it. Wanting nothing more than to make your mark in the big wide world, you’ve scribbled So and So Was Here on a wall, piece of wood, napkin, bathroom stall, etc. You stand back admiring your work and think ‘boy, how clever am I?’. Eh, not so much. There’s a much more clever (cleverer?) scribbler than you. His name is Kilroy.
James Kilroy was a shipyard inspector during WWII. After inspecting each newly constructed ship he would chalk his signature phrase on a bulkhead to prove that he had been there and all the rivets were accounted for. It completely baffled the troops. Somehow this ‘Kilroy’ was popping up in places no one had been before so they took up the baton and started placing their Super GI in every location they went. Competitions sprang up to see who could place him in the wackiest places. It’s said Kilroy has visited Mt. Everest, the Statue of Liberty, the underside of the Arc de Triumphe, and the moon. But the most daring turn up of Kilory was during a meeting of the Big Three in Potsdam, Germany 1945. Truman, Attlee, and Stalin had exclusive use of a marble bathroom, off limits to everyone else. First one in, Stalin came out sputtering in Russian, ‘Who is Kilroy?’”
These days, Kilroy makes his home in our nation’s capital at the WWII Memorial. Next time you’re there take a stroll around the beautiful water and pillars honoring those who fought for our freedom and keep a sharp eye out for the little guy. I’ll give you a hint: walk around the back because he’s kinda shy.
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