I can remember exactly where I was when we heard the news on Aug. 14, 1945. A small group of us Air Corps GIs listened to President Truman's voice on a barracks radio as he informed America that Japan had finally surrendered. The atomic bomb my high school chemistry teacher predicted had been dropped on Aug. 6 ... a three-day wait ... then a second fell on Nagasaki ... another wait -- six days this time. Finally, the surrender and it was over.
A fellow standing near me spoke simply, but, to me, eloquently, "The war's over. Just think; no more guys getting killed!"
The phrase came to mind again later, when we saw a film showing the atomic blast on a New Mexico desert. As the gigantic mushroom cloud rose thousands of feet into the air, I was naively convinced war had at last been made too terrible. There won't be anymore wars, I told myself. Who would want something so devastating dropped on them? No more wars. No more guys getting killed. Nineteen years old; a high school graduate trained to be a flying radio operator; yet naively ignorant of my fellow man's careless quest of power.
Unfortunately, we would know other wars.
TIME TO LIGHTEN UP! Did you know Aug. 16 is Joe Miller Joke Day? Who's day? Joe Miller was a stage actor known for his wit about 300 years ago. To paraphrase one of his: A lady was insisting to friends she was only 40 when a fellow nearby claimed it must be true for she'd been saying those very words for the past 10 years.
Later, a fellow named John Mottley compiled 247 of Joe's jokes in a book called "Joe Miller Jests," and also asked readers to pitch a few jokes every Aug. 16 in his memory.
So, here we go:
Patient: "I see spots in front of my eyes a lot."
Nurse: "Have you seen the doctor yet?"
Patient: "No. Just spots.
Mark Twain's observation about memory: "When I was young, I could remember anything -- whether it happened or not!"
Not many agree, but this writer feels Groucho Marx was at his funniest when he said, "I had an uncle once who came within a few cents of being fabulously wealthy!"
A Texan was trying to impress others about his ranch back home at a meeting in Chicago.
"Why, I can get in my pickup in the morning and it'll take half a day for me to get to the other side of my property. Whataya think of that?" A fellow from Iowa answered, "You know, I had a truck like that once."
Finally, Bob Newhart's comment about machines increasing in the workplace: "The good thing about them is machines don't make mistakes, make mistakes, make mistakes ... "
We attempt such humor trying to keep alive our human spirit in spite of the regretful fact we can't figure an answer for the persistent problem of those wars ... Maybe someday ...