Wednesday, June 18, 2014



     My father, like so many others in his generation, loved Bob Hope and his one-liner jokes that would sound a bit corny in today's world. The easily understood humor was conveyed without swear words or political implications. Thinking about my father on this past Father's Day and his enjoyment of the TV specials, made my recent visit to the “National Salute to Bob Hope and the Military” particularly meaningful.
      The spectacular work of art overlooking San Diego Bay, with the Midway Museum in the background, is free for everyone to enjoy. I like to sit on one of the nearby benches to take it all in while listening to Bob Hope's jokes from the ongoing loudspeaker.
      The realistic artwork consists of sixteen bigger-than-life bronze sculptures. At the center is Bob, microphone in hand, entertaining and raising the spirits of our troops.The surrounding 15 bronze soldiers represent different eras and branches of service that Bob would have encountered on his 57 United Service Organization (USO) tours between 1941-1991. Some are holding signs that say: “Thanks for the Memories Bob” and “Go Bob.” Others, with big smiles, are about to clap their hands in appreciation. One is in a wheelchair and another with crutches and a missing leg. I enjoyed the female Air Force officer who is sitting on the ground and sketching a humorous picture of Bob with his pointed nose. It is overall a great piece of artwork by Eugene Daub and Steve Whyte.
     Bob Hope was born in England in 1903 and moved to the US when he was four. He lived to be 100 years old. He appeared on various TV shows, particularly Christmas specials and various entertainment specials for the US Armed Forces from 1950-1996. Guest stars like Bing Crosby, Ann Margaret, and popular athletes often accompanied him. In 1997, the US Congress declared him the “first and only honorary veteran of the US Armed Forces.”  He traveled and entertained troops starting at the end of WW II and extending through the Korean War, Vietnam, Lebanon Civil War and the Persian Gulf.. He authored 14 books including the popular Bob Hope: My Life in Jokes. He was known for his sharp mind, good memory, and hard work. Delores and Bob Hope celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary before his death in 2003.
     His jokes live on:

You can always tell when a man's well-informed. His views are pretty much like yours.”

I grew up with six brothers. That's how I learned to dance—waiting for the bathroom.”

You know you're getting old when the candles cost more than the cake.”


      It would be difficult to visit the Bob Hope Memorial without first noticing the nearby towering 25 foot tall statue entitled “Unconditional Surrender.” It depicts the famous WW II photo of a sailor kissing a nurse while celebrating in Times Square, New York on August 14, 1945—inspired by the joy of all Americans upon hearing of the end of the war. The famous icon is sometimes referred to “Save the Kiss.” Kids call this the “kissy” statue. I love the striking statue, even though the couple didn't know each other, and the sailor was said to be inebriated at the time, and engaged to someone else.

        The Bob Hope memorial is located in theTuna Harbor Park, adjacent to the Fish Market Restaurant. Metered parking is conveniently available.



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