Kilroy Was Here

By Donald Gates

I was going thru some old pictures my Uncle Claude had sent me when he was stationed in Germany during World War II. One picture showed him sitting on his tank holding a Nazi flag he had taken following his Second Armored Division capturing a German town. On the wall, behind his tank, was a drawing by some GI of a figure that became symbolic of our armed forces protecting America and our way of life.

Kilroy was a funny little guy with a big nose peering over a wall. He was found everywhere American troops were stationed and continued to show up in Korea and Vietnam, but his popularity has, unfortunately, declined in more recent wars. Due to his association with military service, Kilroy is often referenced as a point of nostalgia, pride, and camaraderie among veterans as well among some civilians. The popular press sometimes alludes to Kilroy was here as a cultural touchstone for US soldiers’ experiences in the far-flung wars of the 20th century, especially World War II.

Kilroy was not some monster size soldier clad in armor and holding numerous weapons, with glaring red eyes ready to destroy anything that got in his way. To me, he was a simple little fellow who is saying, “America was here to set you free from tyranny and protect the American way of life”.

Isn’t it wonderful that we live in a country where the Kilroy’s have kept us free to live a life only limited by our own drive, ambition and work ethic? This is the greatest country the world has ever known! We are free to worship as we please, express our views as we please, to move from place to place as we please. And to be, as the Army recruitment motto says, “Be all you can be”.

Have you thought lately about how blessed we are to be citizens of this great country? Well, you should! Thank you, Kilroy. I hope you stick around for a long time.

3 thoughts on “Kilroy Was Here

  1. I remember when I was a little chap in the late 1940s in Baton Rouge, when many veterans had returned home, that in the restrooms of many restaurants that my parents took me to, there would be a drawing of a Kilroy, looking exactly like the one in your article. They were everywhere! Then, when I was in high school and at LSU, in tribute to those sketches, I would often doodle Kilroys in my notebooks when the lecture was dull.

  2. One of the stories I’ve read was a packing inspector in a warehouse before WW2 was accused of not doing his job. His last name was Kilroy. He begin writing his name and the phrase on every crate, the picture was added later when WW2 started.

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