|THE TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER, IN ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY. MOST OF THE GOVERNMENT WAS SHUT-DOWN BY LAST WEEK'S SUPER STORM, HURRICANE SANDY...BUT THIS GROUP OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES STILL WENT TO THE OFFICE.|
|BACK IN '46, MY SOULFUL SAX-DADDY WAS SAID TO HAVE INSPIRED BOTH CLARENCE CLEMONS AND KENNETH "BLEEDING GUMS" MURPHY.|
At the specified time, the band leader introduced his troupe and said, "This year, we decided to try something different...so we won't be playing the typical Independence Day fare."
Unfortunately for my dad, the maestro wasn't kidding. By the third selection, the look of disappointment on my father's face was incredible. We stayed till the end and other than the, "National Anthem," nary an old favorite of dad was played...not even a modern variation on John Philip Souza's, "STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER."
Click on the link below to hear the best patriotic piece of music EVER !
Years earlier, the height of my craps dealing career in Las Vegas was marked by nearly two years (1980-1982), working at the Stardust Casino. In that time, I caught at least a glimpse of several celebrities who gambled or walked through the joint. The most noteworthy was, Bob Hope.
Hope came into our craps pit. He was about 77 and wasn't wearing make-up. While he chatted with our pit boss, I made the wisecrack that he looked like he was 150 years old. Then one of my Vietnam veteran coworkers got in my grill and told me that Bob Hope was one of the greatest American patriots that ever lived...and told me why!
|THE UNITED SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS (USO) WAS SUGGESTED BY FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT IN 1941. THIS NONPROFIT GROUP PROVIDES PROGRAMS, SERVICES AND ENTERTAINMENT DESIGNED TO LIFT THE SPIRITS OF TROOPS AND THEIR FAMILIES.|
Today, the USO still operates 160+ centers worldwide. It originally gained prominence by developing a tradition of aiding and entertaining during WWII as a GI's, "home away from home." Soon Hollywood got in the act and the USO expanded from free coffee, card games and ping pong tables, to the notion of live "camp shows."
The genius of the camp show was, it boosted the morale of the troops because the most popular entertainers of the day showed their patriotism and support by giving their time and skill, (sometimes in war zones or under other hazardous conditions).
Hollywood brought a sense of home to the troops. Movie historian Steve Cohan said, "Most of all...in taking 'home' on the road, the USO equated the nation to show business. The shows exported home to the soldiers...with a sense of patriotic identification with America through entertainment."
LOOK magazine stated; For the little time the show lasts, the fighting men are taken straight back to Main Street.
Actor George Raft said, "Now, it's time like they had back home."
One of the USO's promotional slogans included; The camp shows belong to the American people, for it is their contribution that made it possible. It is an important part of life of your sons, brothers, husbands and sweethearts.
From 1941 to 1947, the USO presented more than 400,000 performances, featuring entertainers such as Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Frank Sinatra, Marlene Dietrich, Hattie McDaniel, Eubie Blake, Ann Sheridan, Laurel and Hardy, The Marx Brothers, Jack Benny, Larry Adler, Ossy Renardy, Zero Mostel, James Cagney, James Stewart, Gary Cooper, Doraine and Ellis, Lena Horne, Danny Kaye, The Rockettes, Al Jolson, Fred Astaire, Curly Joe DeRita, The Andrews Sisters, Joe E. Brown, Joe E. Lewis, Ray Bolger, Lucille Ball, Glenn Miller, Martha Raye, Mickey Rooney, Betty Hutton, Dinah Shore, and most famously, Bob Hope.
|BOB HOPE (above in 1944) WAS THE USO KING. HE DID 57 USO TOURS (1942-1988). IN 1996 HE WAS DECLARED THE FIRST (AND ONLY) HONORARY VETERAN OF THE U. S. ARMED FORCES.|
I realized my mistake. From that moment on, I respected Bob Hope as a hero and national treasure.
Mr. Hope out-lived my father by eight years. He was still entertaining well into his eighties and even got to see his hundredth birthday.
I don't recall my dad ever mentioning his own connection with the USO...I just hope he did perform with them...and I forgot that he told me.
Please, today and everyday, recognize and appreciate Veterans Day! And regardless of your politics, don't take our country's volunteers who are now, fighting, getting wounded and dying in the furthest, most remote outposts on the planet for granted. Because those brave hearts are the only ones separating us from a draft...and violent protests in streets, to prevent everyone's sons and daughters being at risk.