Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Dance Party: Veteran's Day

My family boasts a couple of veterans, including my father, who lied about his age to join the army at the tail end of WWII, hoping to attend flight school.  The war ended too soon, but my father began a lifelong fascination with all things airborne.  He spent almost 40 years at Lockheed, indulging his passion. 

My father's brother spent a lot longer in the military, and served with distinction in Korea.  On my mother's side, my grandfather the doctor served on a hospital ship during WWI.  When my grandmother died, she bequeathed me his ceremonial swords, which Doc Sample wore whenever he was in dress uniform.

I have a good buddy serving in the forces overseas now.  Before he left, Matt answered my curiosity about the portable, prefabricated meals the troops are often forced to eat, by actually giving me one.  This was several years ago, but the packet remains in my kitchen, unopened.  I have vowed to keep it until Matt returns to us safely.  Then, I'll eat it.

So, as today is Veteran's Day, it provides the background for this week's Dance Party.  USO settings have already appeared in previous Parties, including this one from the hilariously motor-mouthed Betty Hutton, and this one, a much more poignant song sung by Bette Midler for the troops in Vietnam in For The Boys.  But if Veteran's Day is our theme, there can be only one star for today's edition:

I wrote a bit about Martha Raye ("Colonel Maggie," as she was known to generations of servicemen) the first time she showed up in these pages.  She never allowed her chaotic private life to interfere with what she considered her duty as an American citizen: to entertain the troops.  This tune comes from Keep 'Em Flying, in which Raye starred (as twins!) with Abbott and Costello.  I am not a fan of Abbott nor Costello, so have never seen the film, but our Martha gives a fun account here.  The song was nominated for the Oscar, and these soldiers are having so much fun, it almost makes you want to join the army.