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Normally celebebrities go to combat zones with the USO. In this case, Mr. Colbert took the USO on a trip with Comedy Central.
The above quote from today’s New York Times Article, A New USO Funnyman says it all. What Colbert accomplished was something no USO performer has in a long time. He was able to bring the troops to us, and acknowledge the fact that there are still 130,000 men and women in the Middle East serving our country. His jokes about Iraq not being in the news anymore and declaring victory, but through his jokes he was able to shed light to the American people that yes, we still have many troops overseas and what is going on is very real despite the humor he brought out out.
The New York Times Article (which if you get a chance, please read) talks about the difference between the days Bob Hope entertained the troops and what Colbert is doing today. When Bob Hope was doing his tours, he was “the piece of home” to the troops, he was almost the sole entertainment and he not only provided them with a time to relax and escape but also a time to feel a little piece of their home brought to them and feel some comfort. Today, things are a little different. Most troops have access to video chats, instant messengers, e-mails, mp3 players and there is no shortage of performers going to entertain them. What is missing however is the fact that American public is not connected to our men and women in the armed services. The average American has no idea what the USO does, nor do they have a big connection to the troops. What Stephen Colbert was able to do was remind all of us that we still have a lot of troops overseas and that they indeed are sacrificing a lot for us.
This USO tour had video clips from the President, the Vice President, Senators and other influential celebrities and figures. It is through this show that they were able to connect to the overall public and remind us all that we have troops overseas that we cannot forget. How interesting, a USO Tour to EDUCATE and INFORM the American public about our soldiers. Colbert gave us a little peek into the lives of some soldiers and we actually got to see men and women in the armed services on camera.
My post that talked about bridging the gap between civilians and the military talked about how crucial it is to get everyone on the same page. Thank you Stephen Colbert for getting all of us to think about our troops, even if it is only for this week. We are consumers that are bombarded by marketing and entertainment every day, so yes we are a little ADD. This was a wonderful way for an entertainer to bring both the government and the troops to all of us and get past the clutter to the most important message and that is that of recognizing our troops. We need more of this. We need to see the stories that our entertainers come back with in order to better relate to our troops.
In my generation, a lot of us have not grown up with a parent in the service. Most of the exposure we get of the troops is through the media. In order to get a proper understanding and appreciation, the USO needs to be doing more of this type of programming. It is not enough to bring entertainers for tours, the general public needs to see some of those “backstage stories” and actually get to see what is it that our troops are doing and why. It is very inspirational to see a complete stranger sacrificing his or her life so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we often take for granted. By showcasing the troops on television and interacting with influencers in the media, we all get to learn more about the military in a way that is relevant, friendly and comfortable to us. I am interested to see what other entertainers will step up and show us something different.