Today, Hollywood is full of fictional heroes. Yet only a few of the many that have stormed screen sets have ever done much to give back to the real heroes—the men and women of America’s armed forces.
Stand up and salute Robin Williams: He was a star who shared his time and talents. Just ask the USO. For more than 70 years, the organization brought America’s best talent to the troops. No star shined brighter than Robin Williams.
“He will always be a part of our USO family and will be sorely missed,” read a statement posted on the USO Facebook page after the announcement of the comedian and actor’s death at 63 yesterday.
After 9/11, Williams toured with the USO a half-dozen times, visiting 13 countries including Iraq and Afghanistan. During one memorable performance in Kuwait in 2007, he started the show early and had to stop when retreat was sounded. All the troops snapped to attention, facing away from the stage.
Afterward, Williams quipped, “I am not going to forget that. I’ve never had an entire audience say, ‘Forget you.’ ”
Williams’ philanthropy extended beyond performing. He supported causes that helped wounded warriors as well.
No one puts on the uniform in the hope that one day they will get to meet Bob Hope, rock with Gary Sinise, or cut up with Robin Williams. They serve because their nation needs them.
Our troops don’t demand accolades or recognition. But, when someone stands up and says thank you, whether it’s a famous actor on a stage or a stranger at the airport, they are deeply touched.
By Department of Defense estimates, Williams performed in front of 90,000 service members. Today, all 22 million who wore the uniform and the over 2 million in uniform currently, join in remembering one man.