This year our Parade Theme will be Kilroy Was Here – the phrase and artwork that became an iconic symbol, a legend among the millions of military men and women who served during World War II and on into the Korean War. Long before the internet, Kilroy was the first truly viral meme. Everywhere that US forces went, you would find Kilroy popping up in unexpected places across all of the theaters of war visited by American troops.
Kilroy came to signify the US super-GI who always got there first. He was everywhere, a superhero, a guardian of our troops and a huge boost to morale. He could always be depended on – the first one there and the last to leave. Competition to inscribe the graffiti in obscure locations kept the battle-weary soldiers busy, and Kilroy’s appearances kept them inspired. His presence was so ubiquitous wherever American servicemen went, that rumors popped up saying Hitler himself issued orders to find Kilroy, and that Stalin came face-to-face with Kilroy inside a Potsdam outhouse!
This simple graffiti captured the imagination of GIs everywhere they went. By the end of World War II, “Kilroy Was Here” had achieved cult-like status, springing up in the unlikeliest of places. Rumor has it that Kilroy has been to Mount Everest, The Statute of Liberty, The Great Wall of China and the surface of the moon. In fact, the National Park Service reports that two engravings, marked “Kilroy Was Here” are tucked into corners of both the Atlantic and Pacific sides of the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC. This “signature” of the memorial confers a further “tip of the hat” to the generation that served in World War II.
Please join us this year, as we celebrate with Kilroy to honor and thank our Veterans, active Military and their families.