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Harry Truman returns to Bush School to decide about atom bomb drop

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President Harry S. Truman returned to the Bush School in Seattle for the seventh year in the form of Seattle attorney Mike King. King / Truman worked with students studying Truman’s transition to President and ending World War II. King, who bears a striking resemblance to Truman, has studied the 33rd President for many years and can speak with authority as Truman.

Students in the Bush School's history class spent weeks studying the events that led to the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. They then prepared to reenact the people involved including Albert Einstein, Dwight Eisenhower and Edward Teller.

Acting as the different participants who might have advised Truman about that decision, the students debated the question fully and produced a rationale both for and against dropping the bomb. Then, King (acting the role of Truman) made his decision based on the students’ arguments.

Mike King has been volunteering to play this unique role at the Bush School since 2006 when his sons attended Bush, and he was simply an involved parent. For the past two days, he has worked with history classes in this unique educational endeavor. It was truly an educational experience to be remembered for everyone who participated including myself as an outside observer to the final production.

King’s work was so successful, that it spawned a local stage production The Realm of Whispering Ghosts: If Truman Met Einstein that ran for three weeks in September 2013. King himself stood in for the professional actor playing Truman for two of the shows. Having seen a few performances of the show, I can attest to the fact that King was as good as, if not better than, the professional actor. He truly embodies the spirit of Harry Truman and the integrity of that great President.

May we all be as responsible as the man who said, “The buck stops here.”