Kemejuk's Korner

Bob Hope, 1903-2003

With the recent passing of entertainer Bob Hope, we veterans of the American military have lost probably the single biggest public supporter we ever had. It is, of course, well publicized that Bob Hope was the only person ever officially designated as an honorary Veteran, and it is with good reason that such a unique honor was bestowed on him. During times when American fighting forces were seriously desperate for a bit of Americana, and often at times when the ongoing war wasn’t exactly a big hit at home, Mr. Hope was one of a kind in his ability to bring a taste of home to the front lines, in a single-handed effort to show the troops how much their country cared.

Bob Hope endured many of the unpleasant experiences, and obviously faced many of the same threats and dangers as America’s military, in the war zones he traveled to for several generations.

I was never fortunate enough to see Bob Hope in person, although we in the 7th Fleet Band aboard the Oklahoma City had the experience of playing on the very same stage that he did in Da Nang, entertaining the same war-ravaged troops that he did, although certainly not to his level. An incredible punctuation mark was added to that event by the fact that the theater was destroyed, one day after we left Viet Nam, by secondary explosions at an adjacent ammunition storage area.

Bob Hope belongs to the Ages now, but his morale-building visits, his true red, white, and blue American patriotism, his genuine respect and caring for the troops, his unmatchable sense of humor, and his sincere love of our great country and all She stands for, will likely never be equaled.

Thank you, Mr. Hope, for the memories we will always have of you. The world was a better place with you, and you will be sorely missed.

Jack Kemejuk