No one has ever done as much to entertain our troops overseas as Bob did. It began normally enough, when Bob was one of many Hollywood stars who visited our troops fighting in World War II. But he continued his service whenever Americans were in harm’s way – in the Berlin airlift, in Korea, in Vietnam, in Beirut, and in Operation Desert Storm.
His dedication didn’t go unappreciated. He had a ship named in his honor (the USNS Bob Hope) as well as an Air Force C-17 (the “Spirit of Bob Hope”). But perhaps his biggest honor was being honored by Congress as an Honorary Veteran, the first individual so honored in American history.
I remember as a kid dreading when a Bob Hope special came on TV. We had only one set, of course, and only three channels. And my parents loved Bob Hope, so we were stuck. I didn’t appreciate what Bob Hope meant to The Greatest Generation.
As an adult, though, I’ve learned to love those Road pictures Bob made with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour. Those films featured excellent writing and great comic timing among the principals. He always joked about never winning an Oscar: “Oscar night at my house is called Passover,” he said. And yet he starred in 50 films, and appeared on the NBC radio and television networks for an astonishing 60 years. Bob lived to the age of 100, and was active almost to the end.
Bob, I’d like to apologize for the mean thoughts I had about you when I was young. I join the rest of America in honoring you for all you did for your profession and your country. Thanks for the memories…