"Kilroy Was Here"
written by Chris
Kilroy was a favorite graffiti symbol for American servicemen during World War II. This cartoon character with a big nose peeping over a wall appeared almost magically in many battle zones. It was seen on the sides of latrines, on fences, bridges, street signs, and in recently poured cement. He was also seen on pillboxes in Germany, the Statue of Liberty's torch, the sewers of Paris, and remote islands of the Pacific. When Truman, Stalin, and Churchill visited a top-security restroom during the 1943 Potsdam Conference, they found that Kilroy had visited there before them. By 1945, Kilroy's name was as familiar throughout Europe as that of the world leaders'.
Kilroy's real identify was never known. Although there were 62 people in the Army with the name of Kilroy, a likely originator may have been James J. Kilroy, a shipyard inspector from Massachusetts. To mark the tanks, ships, and planes he had inspected, he would chalk "Kilroy was here" on each of them. Servicemen who were frequently exposed to the name may have helped spread it.
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