A deep bell rang in my heart. Then, taps, played on a solo bugle in my mind. I started to cry…and fell quickly to my knees. I found him!

In 10 seconds, I went from being a stand-up comic, on a Department of Defense overseas tour, (kinda Bob Hope-ish doing military shows) to a throbbing, sobbing grandson at his grandpa's grave. I finally found him!

Incredibly, the mechanics of the moment were just as startling. Our US Army posted Major Van Houston in 1939 to Manila. After Pearl Harbor, the Japanese attacked our forces all across the Philippine islands. Major Houston survived the long siege of Corregidor, the fall and capture of the Philippines, and the torturous Bataan Death March. After two years in the hellish Camp O'Donnell POW prison, our Van Houston of East Texas, USA, was reported MIA. During WWII that designation left many American families with endless questions. Including my Mom.

When I chose stand-up comedy, I had no idea of the inherent possibilities! Amongst the unexpected scenarios was an offer to entertain our troops overseas. I leaped at it! My comedic deployment: A twelve country, thirty-one stop, DOD/USO tour. Only after two weeks in Pearl Harbor, Okinawa, and Guam was I told the show would be going to the Philippines. Unforeseen twists of fate have led four generations of the men in my family to those distant islands.

Following a frantic nine days at 14 locations, our show "The World of Illusion with Dr. Bob" was invited to perform at the presidential residence: Malacanang Palace. Post-show, the president greeted the cast, and incidentally asked me if he could do anything for me. He said I made him laugh! I politely inquired about my grandfather's status from 1943. The kind president asked his (and my) general, who asked their respective majors, who asked their captains concerning Major Van Allan Houston from East Texas. The next day, my DOD escort officer gave me a list of five local cemeteries to check. I found grandpa's grave at the Fourth Interment Memorial: "Cemetery of Heroes!" Just northeast of Manila. My mother's questions about her soldier Dad finally had some answers. Mom said her Dad made her laugh. Due to a sheer impossibility that I would be telling my jokes…on the other side of the planet,

I finally found Grandpa!