In the years since Comedian Robin Williams died, thousands upon thousands of remembrances for the entertainer have come out on social media and elsewhere.
From former President Barack Obama to Steve Martin, to the kid that sat behind you in math class — the United States and the world still mourns the loss of a man that filled their spirits with joy for so many decades. A small, but difficult to trump bit of the late actor’s legacy involves his tireless efforts to bring an extra smile to our country’s service members, with other comedians such as Lewis Black and Louis CK, and like Hollywood and USO icon Bob Hope before him.
Robin Williams’ USO Tours
For years, the Good Morning Vietnam star worked closely with the United Service Organization, which helps boost the morale of our servicemen and women overseas. The USO Tour remembered Williams in an official statement on their Facebook page after he passed.
“The entire USO family is saddened by the news of Robin Williams? passing. One of the great comedic actors of his generation, Williams traveled around the world to lift the spirits of our troops and their families. He will always be a part of our USO family and will be sorely missed,” the statement read.
Actor Gary Sinise, himself a major proponent of our helping U.S. troops reminded everyone of Williams’ time spent overseas.
“His genius as artist & comedian will B[sic] missed & his support of R troops no doubt was much appreciated by all who serve,” Sinise wrote on Twitter.
Robin Williams Didn’t Ever Retreat From His “Duty”
A quick perusal of the Internet pulls up dozens of photos that Williams took with members of the Marines, Army, Air Force, and Navy during his many appearances in USO shows and holiday tours right in the heart of war zones like Baghdad in Iraq, Camp Arifjan in Kuwait, and bases across Afghanistan. Each one is peppered with the same sentiment…he didn’t have to go, but knew that if he did, it could put a smile on the people who deserve it the most.
“Immediately upon arrival, Robin Williams, a USO veteran, made his trip to the portable trailer latrines into an event in itself. The Academy Award winner hugged and posed for pictures with any and all comers, improvising people-specific comedy that soldiers will pass on to their grandchildren,” WND wrote of Williams’ Christmas 2007 visit.
During that same visit, Williams got a dose of the order and reverence seen in U.S. military life. During his stand-up comedy set the flag was lowered as sundown fell upon the horizon. As is customary on military bases around the globe, when the flag is lowered, you stop, salute and wait until the bugle has ceased to sound.
Though he was not familiar with the time-honored tradition, Williams stops his set and joins the entire audience of troops in observing the lowering of his nation’s flag. As the troops turned back around and faced the comedian, he paused for a moment and echoed the same words that thousands have thought of his humor and life.
“I’m not gonna forget that.”
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This story was originally published August 12, 2014.