On Warrior Wednesday, we honor the legacy of Bob Hope, whose near 50-year, worldwide USO tours contributed to uplifting the spirits of the Armed Forces of the United States at home and at battlefields during WWII, Korea, Vietnam and in the Middle East. Hope brought laughter and much-deserved entertainment, particularly during the holidays, to service members who could count on his quick wit and humor no matter the environment. In his first USO tour visit to Vietnam in 1964, Hope sarcastically told the troops, “As we flew in today, they gave us a 21-gun salute, three of them were ours.” His USO tours also conveyed a message of appreciation and support to the troops from the American people, which gave them confidence and purpose in accomplishing their mission and belief in what they were asked by their country to do.
Hope was beloved by his generation, and while never having served in the military was honored by Congress in 1997 as an honorary veteran of the Armed Forces. He remains an endearing figure whose selfless giving and philanthropic contributions will forever be remembered and serve as an inspiration to others including Gary whose humble and exemplary service like Hope, has been recognized by the Association of the United States Army who awarded him with the George Catlett Marshall Medal in 2017 which is the highest award given. Gary has also received the Bob Hope Award for Excellence in Entertainment from the Medal of Honor Society in 2007 and the Spirit of Hope Award in 2012 for selflessly contributing an extraordinary amount of time, talent, and resources to benefit members of the U.S. Armed Forces.