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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 548-03
July 28, 2003

Department of Defense Statement on the Death of Bob Hope

Today, we mourn the loss of a true American patriot. The first and only American ever to be made an honorary Veteran of America’s Armed Forces, Bob Hope holds a special place in the national security pantheon. He called the troops his "best friends," and he made it his mission to be with them wherever they served, regardless of distance or danger.

To many of our forces from across the generations, Bob Hope’s visits were a taste of home in a far-off land; a moment of mirth in the middle of war, and a loud and clear message to our military that America honored their service and prayed for their safe return.

Bob Hope’s final tour, at age 87, took him to the Persian Gulf and the men and women of Desert Storm.

Although he is no longer with us in life, he will always remain, just as he was, in our hearts -- cracking jokes, boosting morale, and reminding all the world of what it means to be an American.

With profound gratitude for his decades of service to our country, we extend our deepest sympathy to his family and many friends.