The USO Brings Christmas Joy
Updated: Apr 29
Everyone wants to feel joy at Christmas, but imagine being in war and thousands of miles away from family and friends without the internet and social media. Christmas just wouldn’t be the same! To help raise troop morale, the USO provided special entertainment during the holidays and throughout the year during World War II.
USO Camp Shows, Inc., a subsection of the main organization, was established on October 30, 1941. World-renowned entertainers, such as Bing Crosby, Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Marlene Dietrich, Frances Langford, and, of course, Bob Hope gave of their talents for the war effort. These stars, along with about 7,000 lesser known performers, put on an unbelievable 428,521 USO shows all over the world from 1941 to 1947. Shows were performed at army bases, in combat areas, and hospitals. At least twenty-eight performers lost their lives entertaining the troops.
The USO still brings the military much needed entertainment, recreation, and a way to escape their circumstances for a little while today. This Christmas, let’s remember the men and women serving our country overseas. What can you do to bring joy to these brave soldiers and their families during the holidays?
Song after song began and ended, some with her singing and some without her. Their last song was “Here Comes Santa Claus,” and she was just beginning her solo when a soldier from the front row leaped up on stage and made it into an extemporaneous duet. The crowd applauded as he put his arm around her and sang out just as boldly. His voice didn’t capture many of the notes, but his performance was hysterical, and Ava could barely sing for laughing. A camera flashed somewhere out in the distance, and, when the song ended, everyone was already standing for Santa Claus himself.
Songbird, Chapter 41