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Peace Initiative: A Good First Step

Peace Initiative, A Good First Step

On Oct.14, 1943, Kenneth McCaleb was shot down on his 19th mission over Germany. He spent the next 19 months in German prisoner of war camps before being released on April 29, 1945.

In the spring of 1998, McCaleb donated $150,000 to establish the McCaleb Initiative for Peace at Missouri Southern. The initiative will examine the causes of war and discuss ways armed conflicts can be prevented. To that end, Ginny Dumond, managing editor of The Chart, traveled to Germany June 14-26, 1998, to retrace McCaleb's steps some 50 years ago.

McCaleb himself paid a return visit to the prison campus at Dachau and Moosburg in 1976. At a small museum in Dachau, the former deputy commandant of the prison camp, with tears in his eyes, remarked to a group of survivors that Dachau is "the shame of Germany." To this, McCaleb added: "It is a shame that people on this earth can not learn to love, respect, and understand each other and to simply enjoy the wonder and beauty of this earth: It is a shame that human beings periodically attempt to destroy each other in war."

Every April 29, the anniversary of McCaleb's liberation at Moosburg by Gen. Patton's army, he would take the day off and take a hike by himself in the woods at a nearby mountain state park in Alabama. There he would recall his fellow B-17 bombardiers and navigators who were hanged or beheaded by German civilians angry at the bombings of their homeland and those who perished in the German prison camps. Mainly, though, McCaleb meditated on the stupidity of the human race and the urgency to prevent future wars. His McCaleb Initiative for Peace is a step in the right direction.

The following is a list of stories written by Ginny Dumond and Kenneth McCaleb, and published as a supplement to the September 11, 1998 issue of The Chart.

Tour through nation changes viewpoint

Casualties of war serve a disturbing wake-up call

Hitler's rise from Felon to Fuhrer

First German prison camp holds secrets of Nazi regime

Remains of the Reich

Veterans share war-time experiences

War memorial remembers battle

Booming Joplin company originally from Germany