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Sunday, January 14, 2018

To End All Wars

On Sunday, December 7th, 1941, a day that will live in infamy, my Dad, Dr. Charles F. Heller, Jr., had just turned ten years old, growing up in Kansas City, Missouri. He heard an important news bulletin come in over the radio, and he ran out to the backyard to tell his folks what he had heard:

The Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor.

He didn't know where Pearl Harbor was, didn't know who the Japanese were... But it was bad, he could tell, from the alarming voices coming through the speaker. His parents didn't make a big deal out of it, he said, but the war was on.

By August of 1945, three and a half years later, the Emperor of Japan (thought by his people to be a god) shuffled out onto the deck of the USS Missouri and signed the surrender papers. This forever set the benchmark for American exceptionalism and established the United States as a Superpower.

Three and a half years. By that time, my dad had grown up quite a bit. Boys really do between the age of ten and almost 14 years.

This was my nephew Charlie's last video. My sister found it quite awhile after her son passed away having just barely turned 12 years old.

It shows his state of mind pretty accurately, not much different from other kids at that age. A couple of years older than his Granddad was when he heard about Pearl Harbor, couple years younger than his Granddad was when President Truman (another great Missourian) wrapped things up with those two A-Bombs.

World War II... Huh. Over and done with, all sides of the globe, three and a half years. And not just Japan, but Hitler, too. Quite a bloody feat.

Of course, wars can go on forever, if neither side has an advantage, but both wish to continue fighting. Later on, the historians enjoy the luxury of calling it madness.

Our struggle with Kalamazoo County, and the Medical Examiner (among others), in a spat about nothing like the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, well... It's only been two and a half years now.

And grinding on.

So like the boy at the end of the video says: "Let's get started, shall we? Thank you... And I will see you again soon."

pH o1.14.18

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