As I made my way around Tuna Harbor Park and it’s gorgeous vistas of San Diego bay, I heard Bob Hope speaking to the troops. What? Where is that coming from? It seemed to be descending from heaven. I walked further and discovered the source — speakers placed high up on tall posts were bringing taped segments of Bob Hope’s USO tours. There before me was a statue of the great entertainer and several more sculptures of the men who loved him for it.
For a span of over fifty years beginning in 1943, he dedicated himself to entertaining soldiers, sailors and airmen of the armed forces in the many battle fronts and remote outposts where they’ve served throughout the world. His overseas USO tours, which often took place over Christmas, were deeply appreciated and fondly remembered by countless thousands of servicemen on protracted tours of duty, often under combat conditions, far from their homes and families.
Now the legacy of Bob Hope is commemorated by a major sculptural artwork titled “A National Salute to Bob Hope and the Military,” Located in a tranquil waterfront park on Port tidelands, with commanding views of San Diego Bay, the National Salute is a fitting tribute to not only Bob Hope but to the legions of servicemen and women he entertained over the years. For the public, the National Salute is intended to be interactive and personal. Visitors are meant to be part of an intimate connection with Bob Hope and to experience some sense of the bonding that Hope had with the service people he entertained.
This slide show tells the story. Look closely at the expressions on their faces…