Brought to you by: Cuyahoga County Veterans Service Commission

Good thing rank has nothing to do with popularity.

Bob Hope would have been our Commander-in-Chief for four wars: WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and the Middle East.

To say our Honorary Commander-in-Chief had heart for us damns by faint praise. He had an enormous heart for every grunt, swabbie, flyboy, and jarhead. He cared for each one of us. When he stopped to visit and entertain us, he was one of us.

And he proved it. He went where we were. He was committed to making troops smile and laugh. He made us laugh during war’s intermissions. He was indefatigable: Fifty seven trips to our troops. Where Hope found his energy and commitment, we’ll never know. All we know for sure is that we’re grateful. He made memories for us that will always be with us.

During the Vietnam War, some entertainers balked at Hope’s request to join the troupe. But Hope didn’t care so much about the politics behind war; he cared about the men and women in dirty uniforms and worried faces, and to hell with political correctness.

He could toss barbs with the best of them. He asked troops in Vietnam, “And did you read where President Johnson just requested another $50 billion to cover the rising cost of the war? Wouldn’t it be awful if we ran out of money and they repossessed the war?”

At an age when most of us are dreaming about retirement, the 61-year old trouper brought his joy and comradeship to Vietnam in 1964.

Taking entertainment to the troops was a complicated task carried out.

On a few of his tours, Hope was the only star. In others, he brought with him a galaxy of stars: Irving Berlin and Doris Day; Anita Ekberg, Jerry Colonna, and Hedda Hopper; Ginger Rogers and Jayne Mansfield; Mickey Mantle and Andy Williams; Tuesday Weld and Gina Lollobrigida; Johnny Bench, Jim Nabors, and Jill St. John; Brooke Shields and Miss USA Julie Hayek; Hootie and the Blowfish, Alan Jackson, Salt & Peppa, Boyz II Men, and LaToya Jackson; The Pointer Sisters and Ann Jillian. And Racquel Welch.

If there’s a heaven, our friend and Honorary Commander-in-Chief Bob Hope is lounging in the clubhouse, waiting for us. He wants to welcome us home. We want to say “Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.” Thank you, Bob Hope, for the memories. 

Here’s the link of the original article: https://bit.ly/2E94D67. 

I’ve seen Mr. Hope’s Christmas specials on TV before and after serving my tour in Vietnam. While there, I never got to see his show. Instead, I was in the bush providing security for those lucky 25th Division folks who attended at CuChi in 1970.

Any readers get to see his show while serving in the military? If so, cite the year, location, and who you enjoyed seeing the most during that show?


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