Monday, December 21, 2015

A Science Guy’s Almanac #14: Kazoos! Re: December 18, 1981


In the early 1980s, vocabulary was a big thing in my biology classes. A “Word of the Day” was displayed under the clock. Whenever the word was introduced during the period, I would announce the event with a kazoo fanfare. There was a massive 150-word vocabulary matching test at the end of the school year. But the kazoo became the focus.
Vintage Kazoo. Under the blue stopper is a piece of waxed paper. Good kazoos have a removable plug so you can replace soggy, torn waxed paper when necessary. Hum in the small end and a marvelous kazoo sound exits the big end. Dust on the blue plug is optional. My personal kazoo, now unlocatable, was metal with a removable plug.
Because of what was most likely jealousy on their part for not being part of the WOD announcements, in the fall of 1981 my Biology II class decided they wanted a Christmas Kazoo Choir.
 
First Kazoo Band. Preppie was the dress code that year. Notice my "Mustard Man" outfit.
First Kazoo Band – Christmas 1981

The “Bio II All-Kazoo Marching Band and Christmas Choir” was born out of what I’m sure was an attempt by my students to get out of some hard work. But, since they did work very hard in my class, and I’m always up for a performance, I okayed the idea.

One of the larger bands practicing their finale. 
For 8 or 9 years, my classes spent minutes rehearsing holiday tunes: Deck the Halls, Frosty the Snowman, and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.

Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer Ending. It was the same choreography every year. See below.
 Each song had choreography. While playing “he began to walk around” in Frosty, students would place one finger on the top of their heads and spin in a circle. At the ending of Rudolph, students formed a impressionistic Christmas tree.


Big ending after "We wish you a Merry Christmas." 
Click the above text to see this group performing LIVE!
 Rudolph had a soloist for the Santa part. “Santa came to say” was kazooed by the whole band. Then, in a dramatic moment, it’s difficult to describe, our soloist would step forward while the other students pointed their kazoos at her/him while the soloist played, “Rudolph with your nose so bright, won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?”


Ending "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer." This year I wore a red shirt, scarf, and a green vest.
 The dress code for the band was a year-by-year decision. You can see that Santa hats were the most common. Most classes went red/green, but the first group chose "preppie" as their theme. I think it speaks volumes that no other bad chose to follow their lead.
Kazooing in a Science classroom. That's me in the Santa suit.

 Bottom line: We would march around campus performing our playlist for teachers who had asked us to come. We always started at the office, where we were a perennial hit. One year, a Jewish student played a Hanukkah song as a solo to “balance out the season.”

Article in the school newspaper, The Royal Page, circa 1988
The Kazoo Band made one non-holiday appearance. In the late 1980’s, my kids wanted to perform at Homecoming. Word got around. By the Homecoming night, we had more band members, including dozens of alumni, than the Marching Monarchs. Our theme was “Masters of Kazooniverse” in a tribute to He-Man, a television hero of the time. I didn’t want to embarrass our school band with a huge crowd of kazoo-ers, so we never did that again.


Next blog: Calling !
Next Almanac: A Science Guy’s Almanac #14: 

Follow me on Twitter: @CRDowningAuthor and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CRDowningAuthor


My website is: www.crdowning.com

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The First San Diego Writers Unite! Meeting and Amazon Free eBook Promotions!

The First San Diego Writers Unite! Meeting and Amazon Free eBook Promotions!

The first part of the title of this blog is a bait and switch line. That was not my intent. However, as time progressed, I felt that this blog space would be better filled with more information about one of my publicity experiments than with extensive information about the Writers Unite! meeting.

There will be a Writers Unite! meeting in San Diego in early February. Tentative information:
Date: February 6, 2016
Time: 10:30AM-12:00PM
Location: Liberty Station Conference Center // 2600 Laning Road, San Diego, CA 92106
Agenda: The focus of this meeting will be how authors can support one another in using Amazon’s policies to our advantage.
The description of the event will be expanded in one of my January blog posts.

The focus of this blog now switches to a “things I think I learned by running an Amazon promotion for my books” modality.

When I received a Tweet asking if I would download a free eBook and review it in exchange for a review of my eBook, Idea FarmingA Science Guy’s Read on Writing, I agreed.

Then I realized I needed to get the potential reviewer a free copy of Idea Farming.

Ultimately, I decided to run a promotion on Kindle. NOTE: Your book must be enrolled in KDP Select to do this! Starting from the home page after signing into Kindle Direct, I selected Promotion and Merchandising from the left menu.


Then I clicked on Free Promotions in the list that appeared.


The page that opens contains clear instructions for setting up your promotion.


You go to your Bookshelf. NOTE: Depending on how you login, you might be able to start here. If you can see Bookshelf in the top menu when you sign in, you can start here.


Click on the Promote and advertise button.


Select Free Book Promotion

Unfortunately, I got the idea for this blog entry after I did the promotion and my books are not eligible to sign up for another Free Book Promotion or Kindle Countdown Deal until the next Kindle Direct Enrollment Period for my book. Your books are enrolled in Kindle Direct for three-month periods beginning on your first enrollment date. You can do one promotion per enrollment period. As far as I can tell, if you don’t cancel the Kindle Direct enrollment the enrollment automatically rolls over to the next quarter. At least, I’ve not had to re-enroll any of my books.

Once you have the menu for setting your promotion, you follow the steps to select a start and end date for your promotion. Your promotions can run up to a total of five days during any enrollment period.

Results of My Free eBook Promotion
I advertised my promotion on Twitter and Facebook. I scheduled ten tweets/day, two per book, for each of the days of the promotion through Hootsuite. I posted on my FB page, my Author FB page and on five groups to which I belong. I did a total of fourteen posts on Facebook.

I promoted five of my books for five consecutive days of Free Downloads. You can see by the graph above that there was a low point on the third day. I will break my future Free Promotions into a three-day segment and a four-day segment the following week to try and avoid that.


During that period, there were 436 total downloads. I was pleased with those numbers.

Next blog (in two weeks): More on the results of Free eBook Promotion

Follow me on Twitter: @CRDowningAuthor


My website is: www.crdowning.com

Monday, December 7, 2015

A Science Guy’s Almanac #13: Voices and Stories Re: Any day in one of my classrooms 1973-2015

A Science Guy’s Almanac #13: Voices and Stories Re: Any day in one of my classrooms 1973-2015
I have been blessed by God with two traits that have made my life in the classroom much less traumatic than it might have been. First, I enjoy being in front of people. Conversely, I really do not like “one-on-one” conversations, except with friends. This trait has allowed me the freedom to express myself in a variety of ways while teaching. For example, I use several different voices to indicate emotions ranging from confusion (a slightly high-pitched voice asks a question many students want to ask but won’t for fear of embarrassment) to decision-making (a southern drawl states a concept or conclusion with gen-u-ine ah-thor-it-y). 

Click here for a sampling of vocalizations!
Another trait that distinguishes my teaching is my ability to “drop into character” at various times. During instruction on meiosis, I assume the persona of a Southern Gospel Preacher. My students are encouraged to “believe the rule” [the Law of Segregation]. To inspire true belief, the class chants “one chromosome from each homologous pair goes to each sex cell” at least once per class period during the entire genetics unit while I implore them to “Say it like you mean it!” and “That was pathetic. You still sound a lot like heathen nonbelievers!” And, ultimately, when the whole class chants with appropriate gusto and expression, my students hear, “Hallelujah! You have seen the light!”
When doing our gel electrophoresis lab, “Officer Radtke, Downtown Precinct,” complete with Lt. Colombo-like jacket and felt fedora, pays a call to the lab looking for the “squints” who were assigned the task of helping the overworked police lab solve a crime. Of course, Officer Radtke has a Brooklyn accent as he demands results so he can arrest “the poip-a-tra-tuh.”


I am always looking for new ways to peak student interest. Towards that end, in addition to voices and persona, I describe the term endoplasmic reticulum as “the best word in biology” and pronounce it with rolling r’s and a haughty tone. My students are told that if they respond expressively with this term when asked by parents “What did you learn in school today?” that it could buy them several days of not having to deal with that question.
I provide my students with “the ultimate excuse”: All naturally occurring processes proceed in such a way that the entropy of the system increases. They are told that this excuse is a great way to avoid cleaning their room—unless their parents have any science knowledge and know that is only true without an outside energy being added to the system—by them!
I have no qualms including personal stories to illustrate biological concepts. For example, I refer to my children in this way: one of my sons is adopted; the other is, as I say, “organic.” I also use many references to my various injuries and surgeries to illustrate various points of biological interest.
The second of my “inherited traits” that help me be effective is this: I have the innate ability to sense when I am “losing an audience.” Some teachers, and far too many “speakers,” just cannot seem to grasp when their students/audience are no longer on the same page that they are on. Much classroom management boils down to, as Charles Kounin named it, “withitness”—the ability to know what is going on all around the class at any one time. For years, I could not have articulated why my management issues were so much less dramatic than others with whom I taught. After 23 years, while preparing lessons for one of my first teacher education classes at Point Loma Nazarene University, I read Kounin’s management ideas. A light went on—I knew I was a “with it” teacher.
A third element of my success is not one I was blessed to have innately. I make a concerted attempt to be aware of new information on how the human brain learns. This consciously began at a session on the human brain at an NSTA conference in the mid-1980s. In what I now know to be a constructivist approach to learning, I began to rethink, redesign, and implement specific classroom strategies that work cooperatively with students' brains. The results have been beneficial to my students and gratifying for me.
Excerpted from:

Chapter 45: Let “You” Show Through – by C. R. Downing – Pages 295-300


Next blog: Calling !
Next Almanac: Kazoos! Re: December 18, 1981

Follow me on Twitter: @CRDowningAuthor and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CRDowningAuthor

My website is: www.crdowning.com

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Writers Unite! Calling all independent and self-published writers!

Writers Unite! Calling all independent and self-published writers!

I have experience as both a self-published and independent press published author. Both offered wonderful opportunities, and I’m glad that I was able to successfully publish books via both pathways.

I’d anticipated having to work on publicity for my self-published books. But, one of my big surprises was the lack of advertising done by my independent publishing house on behalf of either of my books. Best Science Fiction Book award Traveler’s HOT L won was based on my entry, not the publisher’s. There was no mention of that award on their catalog web page either.

I’ve worked very hard at attracting Twitter followers. I’ve stalled out in the mid-1700 area because of Twitter’s policy of limiting the number of accounts I can follow to 2000 until I have 2000 followers.

I’m on Facebook nearly every day as C. R. Downing by using Hootsuite to schedule posts. I also schedule tweets via Hootsuite.

Perhaps you noticed the primary delivery system of the electronic publicity for my books is… ME!

If you are like me, you’ve worked hard at getting exposure for your book. But you and I have limited venues for such exposure without paying large sums of money.

I work with a wonderful publicist, Sherry Frazier. She suggested the following idea to unite a common group and, more immediately, provide a way to promote our books to many, many more people than I can contact via social media.

Amazon.com is the best place to get your book noticed. However, if you don’t have significant numbers of reviews and sales, you only get noticed if someone searches for your title or genre.

How can we indie writers increase our numbers in both of those required elements?

There is a “movement” for indie authors. Known as Writers Unite! Working together to review, promote and sell books, this is a nationwide series of independent events that will be able to share contact information between one another.

In January of 2016, I’ll be hosting the first Writer’s Unite! group meeting for authors local to the San Diego, California area. Of course anyone is welcome, but the event itself will be held on a Saturday morning in San Diego.

My elevator speech for the event is:
This is a time when, for a modest investment of money and time, you will have a chance to help other authors raise their Amazon rankings while they help you raise yours.

I get no special treatment. I’m in the same boat as the rest of us Indies. Come back next blog for specifics on the day and time. Also, I’ll provide an outline of the process.

I look forward to hearing from you. If you live outside a reasonable driving area for a San Diego event, maybe we can work something out for a distance-membership concept…

Next blog (in two weeks): The First San Diego Writers Unite! Meeting

Follow me on Twitter: @CRDowningAuthor


My website is: www.crdowning.com

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Science Guy’s Almanac #12: Dress Up and Other Fun Days – Re: 11/20/1977

A Science Guy’s Almanac #12: Dress Up and Other Fun Days – Re: 11/20/1977

Dress Up and Other Fun Days

Back in the “old days, before standards and benchmarks and Professional Learning Communities, I began teaching. I am sure that some teachers did little or no planning or revision of their courses year after year (I suspect some of you remember teachers with yellow legal-sized lined pads with their curriculum hand-written on it that they used daily in class.) However, I can honestly say I never taught a class the same way two years in succession.
In the early years, the goal was to make the class “better,” but for whom or why what we planned was “better” was not a major issue. Owen Miller and I spent the last week of each school year going of that year’s calendar, adjusting lengths of units, ordering films, and talking about new ideas. Eventually, we got to the point where we began writing ideas on the calendars as we went through the year. This brainiac idea made our planning a lot more productive since we didn’t have to keep asking each other, “Do you remember what we said we were going to do here?”
For most of my time at Monte Vista, Biology was the class I taught. I first it was Applied Arts Biology, designed for students who were not college-bound. Then, when John Burak died, I began teaching mostly College Preparatory Biology, a more rigorous alternative for those of academic inclination—or with parents who were that way.
Before major breaks, our classes enjoyed “Food Labs.” In these blatant attempts to circumvent “no food in the room” policies, I would put these kinds of suggestions for lab materials on the board: CO(OK)IES. These usually ended up with sugar overload for kids since they had them in almost every class those days.
My mom and dad had a closet full of old clothing in their outbuilding. The family used it for Halloween costumes. For a couple of years, the box was a resident of one of the small prep rooms at the back of 1007. Once or twice a year, the Anatomy and Physiology students would have dress-up days. No rationale, Just a time to bond a little.

My AP Biology classes were usually too large to do the dress-up, but we would have 2-3 “Caloric Replenishments” each semester rewarding the hard work they were doing. These were never without a theme, and were quite popular.
Another AP Biology event was the “Coincidental Meeting at the Murph.” Prior to selling the naming rights to San Diego Stadium to Qualcomm, the place was known as Jack Murphy Field. The San Diego Padres played in that stadium and four or five times a year offered 2-for-1 deals on pretty good seats. I would collect money in advance and buy the tickets. The kids planned what they wanted to eat. I told them, “I will be at Jack Murphy Stadium in parking lot section 3B on Monday at 5:30 PM. I will have enough Padre tickets for ___ students. If you happen to show up at the same place at the same time, I think that would be quite a coincidence.”
They would nod sagely, and someone would explain to the clueless what I was doing. “Coincidental Meetings at the Murph” were, for all intents and purposes, a completely unauthorized field trip. If I was still teaching, there is no way I would try that today, and do not take this as authorization to do them—or even a suggestion to think about. The 21st-century world we live in is a totally different time with a totally different set of teacher boundaries.
APBio Students enjoying the food at a "Coincidental Meeting at the Murph" in 1982.
While the main reason for these trips to the ball game was to have a good time with one another, I will not forget one time when a very special thing happened. At one game, a young lady sat by me. She was uncharacteristically quiet for her. After the first inning, I asked her if something was wrong. She looked at me with shining eyes.

“Everything is so colorful,” she gushed. “It doesn’t look anything like it does on television. This is sooo pretty.” I had not given any thought to the idea that any of these events would have been the first time a student had been to a baseball game. And I never would have thought that the beauty of the field would have made such a dramatic impact on a student.


Next blog: Calling all independent and self-published writers!
Next Almanac: A Science Guy’s Almanac #13: Voices and Stories Re: Any day in one of my classrooms 1973-2015

Follow me on Twitter: @CRDowningAuthor and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CRDowningAuthor

My website is: www.crdowning.com

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Thoughts After My Longest Edit… Ever!

Thoughts After My Longest Edit… Ever!

I began working on my “final” edit of The 5th Page on September 28, 2015. I sent the edited manuscript back to Sherry Frazier, my publicist, on the day I completed the edit: November 3, 2015.

I worked on the manuscript at least three hours every Monday through Friday of that time. Some weekend work and some l-o-n-g days were included. It was not a fun time.

What did I learn from this experience?

  1. Make your characters come alive early in the process. I waited until after I thought I’d finished the manuscript before allowing readers insight into several of my main characters. I will not do that again.
  2. Decide if you’re going to present your story in strict chronological order early in the process. I waited until I was two weeks into the “final” edit to make that decision. As a result, it took me approximately fifteen hours to print, cut chunks from the printed text, and sequence those chunks. And even after I thought I had accomplished that task, I found chunks I had to move after the first move.
  3. Establish a timeline and add to it as you go. I waited until I went to the strict chronological plotline to do that. I found I had not allowed enough time for some sequences of events to occur—and I mean physically not enough time for airplane flights, car trips, etc.
  4. Include enough verbiage on your timeline to recognize what plot point it represents. I used letters to “number” my chunks. I dutifully placed those letters on my timeline and my revised timeline. But, when I started my last sequencing I had to continually refer to the cutout chunks of text to know what was happening at that labeled point.


At 174,000 words, this is far and away the longest book I’ve ever written. Part of my problem was that I treated this novel as a short story in my preparation. That will not happen again.

Bottom Line

Time spent on early planning, character development, and sequencing of events will save you a LOT of time in the end.

Next blog: Calling all independent and self-published writers!

Follow me on Twitter: @CRDowningAuthor and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CRDowningAuthor


My website is: www.crdowning.com

Monday, November 9, 2015

A Science Guy’s Almanac #11: 1st Lt. George Keller – Re: 8/8/1945

A Science Guy’s Almanac #11: 1st Lt. George Keller – Re: 8/8/1945

November 9, 2015 - Moved out of sequence because of the content.

This is a LONG blog honoring our veterans on Veteran's Day. Too often in today's society, our military personnel fail to receive the respect and gratitude they deserve. I hope this glimpse into the past will remind you of how many individuals like George Keller contributed to our freedom.

I never met George Keller, either before or after he joined the Army. I could never have met him. I was born in 1950 to Burdella and Owen Downing. Lt. George Keller died in 1945 as described below.

I first learned of his existence in 1967—32 years after his death. I was thumbing through my grandmother’s family Bible. I found my mom and dad’s marriage listed on the family tree page. But my mom, Burdella Felts, was listed as Burdella Felts Keller.
I learned bits and pieces over time. But, until my dad died in 2002, I really didn’t know the whole story of my mom’s first husband. Below is a brief telling of George’s story. 

I recommend the book I quote from. A soldier, not a writer, wrote it. For that reason, the sentence construction is eclectic, and the editing could use some cleaning up. I did not adjust the grammar on anything I quoted. Walter’s words deserve to be read in his own style.

However, the book is not important because of the sentence structure. The book tells a story of a handful of regular men who determined to live.

I am proud to be able to bring this to you in honor of Veteran’s Day.

All quoted material is from the book, Courage Beyond the Blindfold – The Last P.O.W.s of WWII, written by Walter R. Ross, the bombardier on Keller’s B-29 Crew.

* * *

Burdella Felts, my mom, met George Keller at Harvester Avenue Missionary Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana. They were married in 1940.

George was already in the Army by the time they married. The couple spent time in Florida. They moved to Nebraska as part of George’s pilot’s training. George and Burdie’s final American station together was in White Sands New Mexico. It was there that now 1st Lt. George Keller was named as Air Commander for a B-29 Crew.

George was deployed to Tinian Island, located between Hawaii and Japan, where he and his crew were assigned the B-29 they named the Sad Tomato. Keller’s crew flew 15 successful bombing missions in the Sad Tomato.

Due to an engine failure in the Sad Tomato, the crew was assigned a newer plane for their 16th mission.
For security reasons, there were no radio signals available to assist us in navigating the plane. We had to rely on dead reckoning and/or the sextant.
The purpose of this mission was to eliminate Yawata’s capability to produce steel. A successful bombing mission could shorten the war.
We left Tinian at 0313 carrying a bomb load of 24 m-17 amiable clusters of 500 pounds each for a total of 6.3 tons of incendiary bombs. We headed for the assembly with the target to be reached in seven hours at 1030.
Page 67
It was en route to their target, the rumors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima was confirmed.
Just as the pilot [Keller] notified the crew that we were approaching the target area and to be on the lookout for enemy planes, our radio operator, Martin Zapf, picked dup word that the Americans had dropped a new type of bomb. Although the information was sketchy, we learned that this bomb was carried by a B-29 and had totally destroyed a Japanese city.
Page 67
Keller’s crew successfully completed their bombing run.
As our plane approached the target, we observed a plane ahead of us in another formation going down in flames. We watched the parachutes unfold as we all expressed our sorrow and dismay knowing how prisoners were treated, especially airmen. It became a night I will never forget.
Prior to dropping our bombs, the pilot was having difficulty holding his place in the formation. We were lagging behind the other planes. This made us vulnerable to fighters. Keller could not hold his position for reasons not known to me. I could hear Holden yelling, "Pull up into formation, we're falling back!" I was too busy preparing for my bomb run, but I heard Keller holler back, "I can't. I'm losing power!" By that time, everyone in the front compartment was getting into the act, knowing a lone plane out of formation was vulnerable. In spite of our lagging, our bomb run was progressing as planned. The bomb bays were opened and I released our bombs at about 1120. To add to our plight, four bombs failed to release. They were hung-up on the bomb rack in the bomb bay. Correll, the navigator who was closest to the window in the bomb bay entry door, saw them and yelled the information to me. That's all we needed, but we did have some luck. During this run over the target when Zeros targeted in on us, our P-S1 fighter planes from Iwo Jima started dogfighting with them, at our three o'clock position, but as the Zeros were driven off flak began bursting all around us. We were engaged in combat against the enemy. I am not sure if any of our gunners got any shots off, probably not, for fear of hitting one of the bombers or fighters. During all of this confusion, I was desperately pulling on my bomb salvo release level without success. Finally, I yelled to the pilot, Release your salvo lever." It worked. The bombs dropped.
Page 73
Unfortunately, mission #16 was to be the last for that crew.

Just as the last bomb dropped, the right gunner, Sergeant Traverse Harman, yelled over the intercom, “The right wing is on fire, we have been hit.” …
Under normal conditions, we could land the plane into the water with, with wheels up and skim the plane on its belly to a stop…
During standard ditching operation, each crew member removes his chute and life raft, assumes a sitting position facing rear with his back supported against a sturdy (upright) panel in the plane. He braces his head and knees to reduce the chances of injury.
When Keller commanded, “Assume positions,” the crew began scurrying around…
Meanwhile, I could not close the bomb bay doors from my position, my closing mechanism had been damaged when we took the hit…
I could stay and die or risk my life by jumping. I wrapped my hand around the rip cord, rolled over and went out. I must have closed my eyes because the next thing I knew I was gliding toward the sea.
A hero to the end, Keller stayed with the plane until everyone got out safely. He even waited for me as I word in the bomb bay. I am not sure I would or could have jumped without Keller. I owe my life to him.
As the final member to leave the plane before George Keller, I was the last person to see him alive. Gilding down, I looked up just as I hit the water and saw him [Keller] with is chute partially open. He hit the water about the same time as the plane hit and exploded. Burning debris litter the ocean area where Keller entered the water. No one saw him again.
Pages 74-76
George Keller was killed as he ditched his plane after all his crew successfully bailed out. The crew spent several days in the ocean with minimal food and water and not enough lifeboats. They were captured by Japanese fishermen and turned over to the Japanese Army.

Two significant events occurred during their month-long stint as POWs. The first was the miraculous appearance of a Christian Japanese officer, Lt. Fukui. This enemy soldier spoke English. It was he who convinced his commanding officer not to kill the prisoners as it would only bring more serious repercussions to the Japanese after they surrendered.

The second significant event was their visit to Hiroshima days after the bombing. They were the first American POWs to be taken on a tour of the city. The group was combined with a smaller group of POWS who’d been incarcerated just outside of Hiroshima and were already dying of radiation poisoning. This is the entire test that Ross includes about that visit.
While looking over the city, I was witnessing the results of the bombing we had heard about on our radio while on our way to bomb Yawata. Unfortunately, we had gotten there before any other American troops, not our plan, but that is the way our mission ended.
The place looked like a giant steam roller had rolled over it, like a vacant lot in the U.S. when all of the buildings had been torn down and then bulldozed. I was viewing what remained of a city destroyed by an unknown bomb, to me. There was no noise, not even a dog barking, not a sound, only quiet. Silence. There were no people. No fires, except one here and there. Nothing green. Just complete desolation as far as the eye could see in the darkness of night. There was destruction everywhere.
Page 118
First Lt George Keller received the Purple Heart and a commendation for his heroics. In late 2014, the VFW presented my mom with an unofficial version of the Distinguished Flying Cross. The crew and their families have been working toward getting this award, comparable to the Silver Star, for Lt Keller since 1945. They are hopeful that it will be officially presented soon.

I’ve never served in our military. 

Even with my imagination, which is pretty extravagant, I cannot imagine what these men went through. War takes good men and women and puts them in evil situations. I am not grateful enough for their service and sacrifice. I don't know if it's possible to be grateful enough.

From my view of life, they are all heroes—as were the Japanese soldiers who fought so hard to defend their homeland.

Next blog: A Science Guy’s Almanac #12: On the Road... Re: November 5, 1985

Follow me on Twitter: @CRDowningAuthor and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CRDowningAuthor


My website is: www.crdowning.com

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