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Howard Weistling wanted to be a comic strip artist. But when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Weistling felt compelled to enlist in the Army.

Mike Weistling, Howard's grandson, loved to hear his grandfather's war stories.

"He probably told me a lot of stories that were not appropriate for a child to hear," Mike Weistling says.

After flight engineer training, Howard was shipped off to Europe. On his maiden flight, his plane was shot down over Austria. Mike has the actual rip cord hung on his wall in Flagstaff, Ariz.

On the north side of the river Thames, between a pub and a railway bridge, there's a rickety staircase down to another world. Or rather, several worlds, layered on top of each other and jumbled together in the slightly stinky river mud. It's a bright, blowy day — seagulls are wheeling overhead, barges pass by in the background, and everywhere I look, there are little fragments of history.

Thousands of Buddhists from all over the world made a pilgrimage this fall to a monastery high in India's Himalayas. Orange-robed monks with shaved heads huddled cross-legged on the floor, as Tibetan opera singers in multicolored gowns teetered under the weight of giant silver headdresses. They carried fruit baskets as offerings and chanted in unison, all praying for the same thing: the Dalai Lama's longevity.

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Happy birthday to one of the most famous streets in America.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CAN YOU TELL ME HOW TO GET TO SESAME STREET?")

THE KIDS: (Singing) Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?

Lauren Michele Jackson On 'White Negroes'

Nov 10, 2019

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

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