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A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

Jul 29th 2003

bob hope

for those of us of the younger generation, it is a sad thing to learn of a public figure’s death and only then be introduced to the greatness of his or her life. such is the case for me in bob hope’s passing. i watched a touching piece about him tonight on A&E biography. i was impressed with the gratitude he had for america’s servicemen and women, a reverence that lasted his whole life long. it seems there was nothing he wouldn’t do for them, and by association, nothing he wouldn’t do for america. though he is worthy of praise for many things, i find particularly praiseworthy his active patriotism, his support of charitable causes, and his superhuman ability to find humor in life.

thank you, bob. i wish i had gotten to know you sooner.

rest in peace, bob hope

some of bob hope’s achievements are detailed at he was awarded the congressional medal of honor. he was named an honorary veteran by an act of congress. the navy named a ship after him, and the air force, a plane.

i was moved while watching old footage of his interaction with US troops in vietnam, korea, and the middle east on A&E. i saw one clip of hope visiting with a few soldiers after a performance, where he said, genuinely “we want you to know how grateful we are for what you are doing here.” he was sincere as an ambassador of good will to those homesick young people. when his wife, delores, found out that a soldier serving in kuwait lived just a few minutes from the hope’s florida home, she told him “come by and visit us when we’re all back home.” that may not sound like much, but such kind words, lovingly spoken to a homesick soul, can really lift his spirits.

here is a small taste of bob’s sense of humor:

It is doubtful that anyone in the annals of show business ever made a more endearing hit than Hope did the moment he stepped before American servicemen sick for home and quipped, “Hi, fellow tourists.” —

“rest assured, the country’s behind you 50%!” [to troops in vietnam] –from A&E biography footage.

“i’ve got sand in places i didn’t even know i had places!” [to troops in the gulf] –from A&E biography footage.

Hope’s daughter, Linda, said his impending death gave rise to one of his last jokes. When asked by his wife where he wanted to be buried, Hope answered, “Surprise me.” –

bob risked his life to make those visits (and he traveled to the gulf when he was 87!), but his devotion was not overlooked by the beneficiaries of his service. this comment, from a reader of another weblog is evidence of that:

This man entertained me and my buddies at a very dangerous location back in Nam. I never thought he and his cast would show up. We had to keep our weapons with us during the show. I loved this man as I would a father.

from what i’ve learned about bob hope in the last few hours, he deserves every honor he ever received. in addition to those, and in his honor, all-encompassingly will inaugurate a new category today. it will be called “people we wish we could be like” or “people we admire” or something like that….as soon as we figure out how to say it while staying true to english grammar rules.

John Steinbeck said of Hope, ” This man drives himself and is driven. It is impossible to see how he can do so much, can cover so much ground, can work so hard and be so effective. There’s a man. There is really a man.”

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