|Tuesday, Nov 25, 2008|
On Monday, November 24th, the National Park Service, the Ellis Island Restoration Commission, and Congressman Eliot Engel of New York dedicated the newly renamed Bob Hope Memorial Library at Ellis Island with the help of Hopeâs daughter, Linda. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) was also on hand to unveil a commemorative postage stamp to be issued next May featuring the beloved comedianâs image.
Hopeâs family emigrated from England in 1908 when he was a boy of four. He rose to fame in vaudeville and then made the leap to film and international stardom. His work entertaining American troops for five decades firmly established him as an American legend and in 1997 he became the first person recognized by Congress as an âhonorary veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.â
âAt Ellis Island we celebrate all immigrants who helped shape this nation,â said superintendent Cynthia Garrett. âBob Hope is an exemplar of the heights to which an immigrant can soar.â
The legislation to rename the research library at Ellis Island the Bob Hope Memorial Library was sponsored by Congressman Engel, who said, âThe library will serve as a daily reminder to visitors to Ellis Island of all of Bob Hopeâs contributions. It is a fitting tribute.â
Katherine C. Tobin, a member of the USPS Board of Governors, was on hand to unveil the commemorative stamp.
âWhat better venue to preview the stamp image that immortalizes the achievements of one of Americaâs true entertainment treasures than Ellis Island, where Bob Hope first set foot on American soil, and where today the National Park Service is dedicating a library in his honor,â she said.
One of those present at the dedication was Fred Schnetter, a retired Air Force master sergeant and veteran of WWII. While stationed in Berlin as part of the Berlin Airlift, Schnetter attended Hopeâs very first USO Christmas Show, and recalls it fondly. âI donât remember everyone who performed that day, but you donât forget Bob Hope,â he said, stifling tears.
âThe naming of the Bob Hope Memorial Library and the commemorative U.S. postage stamp are wonderful tributes to my father, who arrived at this isle of hope 100 years ago,â said Linda Hope. âHe fully achieved the promise of American and dedicated his life to the service of his adopted country.â
Nodding towards the poster-sized stamp, she added, âThis image is absolutely perfect. Thereâs a twinkle in his eye, and that was Dad.â