Sunday, August 22, 2010

The USO Still Going Strong

Added Story

Obama seeks reimprisonment for Lockerbie bomber.

Here’s one -and if you believe it I have some ocean front land in Arizona you might be interested in...
The Obama administration asked Friday that the only person convicted for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 be returned to a Scottish prison. John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, told reporters that the U.S. has “expressed our strong conviction” to Scottish officials that Abdel Baset Al-Megrahi should not remain free. The comments came on the first anniversary of Al-Megrahi’s release.
Brennan criticized what he termed the “unfortunate and inappropriate and wrong decision,” and added: “We’ve expressed our strong conviction that Al-Begrahi should serve out the remainder — the entirety — of his sentence in a Scottish prison.”
Brennan also said the U.S. had “effective and productive discussions” with Libyan officials since the restoration of full diplomatic relations two years ago.
“We will use those diplomatic channels to convey our sentiments on a broad range of issues to include Mr. Al-Megrahi,” said Brennan.

Personally, I am anxious to see how receptive the Libyan government will be and how quickly they will respond to President Obama’s request to send this man back to Scotland to finish his sentence…..

Al-Megrahi was ordered in 2001 to serve 27 years in prison for the bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, but was freed on Aug. 20 of last year on compassionate grounds. He was said to suffer from cancer and had just months to live. In case you forgot, the bombing killed 259 people onboard — mostly Americans — and 11 on the ground.


Now the USO Story

Let’s talk about the USO for a minute. No, I am serious. What do you know about the USO? I mean, other than that, Bob Hope used to put on a good USO special once or twice a year. The reason I mention it is because of a letter I got from a friend of mine who is in the Marines and is currently deployed in Afghanistan. He was very happy about the fact that several “big name” entertainers have gone over to entertain the troops. That got me thinking (not always a good idea, I admit) and I realized that this was something we just take for granted. We probably should not do that. We are lucky to have the USO.

December of 1966 found Bob Hope and his indefatigable USO Show troupers (Phyllis Diller, Joey Heatherton, Vic Damone, Anita Bryant, Diana Shelton, The Korean Kittens, Les Brown, and Miss World, Reita Faria), entertaining off the shores of Vietnam.
The USO was formed just prior to World War II (February 1941) as a way of coordinating civilian support of our expanding military. Since that time, it has provided entertainment and support services for service members here and in every corner of the globe. During World War II, the USO had 3,000 service club locations and provided an amazing 428,521 performances! During the Vietnam conflict the USO provided 5, 559 performances in 70 centers across the combat zones!

Today the USO operates more than 130 centers – in 9 countries, 21 states and the District of Columbia. More than 25,000 volunteers donated their time and talents during 2006 at USOs around the world. Military personnel and their families visit USO centers more than five million times each year.

To support troops participating in Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, USO centers opened in Afghanistan, Kuwait and Qatar. Recently, the USO opened a center at Denver International Airport and a second center in Kuwait. USO centers at the Dallas/Fort Worth and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airports are the only two locations in the United States serving as the focal point for troops arriving on rest and recuperation (R&R) flights from Iraq and Afghanistan. Both centers greet well over 3,000 service members each day on incoming flights as well as provide support to those returning to duty at the end of their two weeks of R&R. Two special programs – Operation USO Care Package and USO Operation Phone Home – were created to support service members participating in Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. To date, more than one million Care Packages and nearly two million phone cards have been distributed.

USO airport centers help military travelers with connections, foreign language translation, long layovers and missing luggage. The USO also operates Family and Community Centers to help military families adjust to new surroundings with information on childcare, employment opportunities, parenting, nutrition, budgeting and recreational programs.

OK, so what is my point? Why am I mentioning all this right now? Am I going to put the bite on you for a donation or ask you to volunteer? No. Nothing like that. I just don’t think any of us are aware enough of the valuable and necessary service the USO provides. I just wanted to acknowledge it and say “Thanks” to the people who do volunteer time and money and talent to help our troops. As I have said, “lip service just is not enough” and these people go the extra mile. Thanks.

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