100 years of Hope … Thanks for the memories

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 29, 2003

One hundred years of Hope is what British immigrant and renowned American Icon Bob Hope gave us.

Not only was he a great comedian, but he was a man who lived the American Dream as if it had been created specifically for him.

Working as a young boy selling newspapers and auto parts, then as an amateur boxer and dance instructor, Bob Hope experienced the American Dream and became an American Legend. He found fame and fortune like no one has ever known.

In addition, he offered hope to a nation through the humor and laughter he brought us for more than seven decades.

Bob Hope is perhaps the most well-rounded performer of all time, spanning 60 years in both radio and television. He was a dancer, singer, comedian, financial genius, real estate mogul, humanitarian, artist, actor, entertainment legend and Goodwill Ambassador.

He starred in 50 motion pictures, had 15 cameo roles, authored 12 books and holds the Guinness Book of World Records title as the Most Honored Entertainer in the World.

&uot;GI Bob&uot; had a 69 year marriage in a Hollywood world where marital bliss is anything but ordinary, and he and his wife Delores adopted four children.

Bob Hope gained respect from both sides of the political aisle by visiting with 11 presidents. He was presented the Medal of Honor by President Kennedy, the Medal of Freedom (the highest Presidential award attainable at the time) by President Johnson, the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award, the American Patriot Award by the first President Bush, and President Clinton gave him the National Medal of the Arts.

For the first time in history, Congress named Bob Hope an Honorary Veteran. The Pentagon presented him the Gold Medal for Lifelong Contributions for maintaining high morale among the troops. He received an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth of England.

Branches of the U.S. Military honored him for his USO Service during every war from 1941 to the Desert Storm.

The Navy has ships and the Air Force has planes named in honor of his many contributions to their troops throughout the decades. His Christmas specials visiting battlefields in both peace and wartime were greatly appreciated.

In a time when many of Hollywood’s elite are making anti-American statements, one of their greatest, most beloved and gifted never did.

He served our country in a most unique and selfless way and brought us great honor and pride.

On Sunday, July 27, America lost a great comedian but more importantly a great American. He embodied the spirit of America and the essence and soul of patriotism.

For 100 years Bob Hope gave us hope in the truest sense of the word &045; thanks for the memories.

Beth Chapman serves as the State Auditor and has been involved in numerous civic, social and political aspects of the Shelby County Community for a number of years