Can you believe it’s been 69 years since Bob Hope performed his first USO Show, at California’s March Field? The words “thank you” are simply not enough when we talk about all he did for the Troops and the USO.
Hope toured with us for nearly five decades after that first show, culminating in a final USO tour in December 1990, when he brought laughter and Christmas cheer to troops participating in Operation Desert Shield in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. In 1997, the USO successfully worked with Congress to designate Bob Hope the first honorary veteran of the U.S. armed forces. And that same year - at what was then known as the USO Holiday Gala - we unveiled the “Spirit of Hope” Award. It is a portrait bas-relief of Bob Hope, created by St. Louis sculptor Don F. Wiegand and Michael Fagin a major donor to the USO and carries on Hope’s legacy to this day.
We found this amazing fund-raising film that Hope created for the USO back in 1946, and in many ways it’s just as apropos today. The USO continues to lift the moral of the Troops and their families to this very day and - even as we reflect back at the incredible legacy of supporters like Bob Hope - look forward to all that we’ll do in the future…
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