World War II style USO show honors veterans, Boy Scouts
March 9, 2010 — Most of us alive today probably aren’t old enough to remember the good old days of World War II and those fantastic United Service Organization shows for the troops, but local residents have an opportunity to relive that nostalgic era when the Susanville Elks Lodge sponsors USO Night on Saturday, March 20.
Cocktails will be served at 5:30 p.m., dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. and the show — a presentation reminiscent of a World War II-era USO show with songs from the 1940s provided by the Susanville Repertoire Company — begins at 7:30 p.m.
The evening honors local veterans and Boy Scouts for their dedication and sacrifice. Admission is free for Boy Scouts in uniform and veterans in uniform or with an identification card.
The USO programs begin in 1941 when President Franklin Roosevelt came up with the idea of the American people reaching out directly to the warfighters.
The USO was designed to provide a bit of home for the warfighters and hopefully raise the morale of the troops along the way. The list of performers who appeared in USO shows during World War II reads like a who’s who of the era.
According to its Web site, “The USO truly made history when it came to entertaining the troops. From 1941 to 1947, USO Camp Shows presented an amazing 428,521 performances. There were sometimes 700 or more performances each day all over the world. More than 7,000 entertainers, dubbed ‘brave soldiers in greasepaint,’ traveled overseas from the biggest movie stars to unknown vaudevillians. Some never returned, having fallen beside the fighting men or perished en route in plane crashes. By the end of the second World War, the USO could claim that more than 1.5 million volunteers had worked on its behalf.”
Other USO shows were presented to injured troops in hospitals in America and around the world. The USO continues today with more than 160 centers worldwide.
Tickets for the Susanville USO show, available at the door, are $5 for adults and $2.50 for children under 12. Those not in uniform are asked to dress in clothing from the WWII era.
To RSVP or for more information, call Terilynn Bejcek at 253-3601 or e-mail email@example.com.
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