On every February 4, USO Day is celebrate as the anniversary of USO foundation in 1941. The first USO date on February 4, 1971 was proclaimed by President Nixon to celebrate its 30th anniversary.
History of USO Day
USO is an organization that supports members of the various branches of the military, plus veterans, plus military and veteran families.
This nonprofit charity is best known for hosting live performances with comedians, musicians, and actors on military bases and camps in the United States and abroad - especially important in wartime.
USO programs help keep military morale high. They help bring a sense of "home" to those serving far away.
Of course, USO programs also allow artists to "give back," to show their love of country and gratitude to the soldiers, sailors, and pilots (and their families), who died for all of us.
In fact, while USO shows are well known, USO is more than that: there are USO centers around the world, including at many major airports, providing a "home" away from home", provides social and recreational opportunities, helps troops with travel problems, and provides information to troops and their families. Care packages and international calling cards and other ways to stay in touch with loved ones are often coordinated through these USO centers.
USO was founded on this day in 1941, in the midst of World War II. Social reformer Mary Ingraham founded USO when President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked for help to entertain and lift the morale of the military. Ingraham brings together the six different organizations that already exist (the Salvation Army, YMCA, YWCA, National Catholic Community Service, National Visitor Assistance Association, and National Jewish Welfare Board) under one umbrella to provide this support.
Although it works with the Department of Defense, USO is not part of the US government. Their hope is everyone can Goes Home.
The USO was disbanded after World War 2. However, when the Korean War broke out, the issue has become a dilemma ever since.
Some facts about USO
USO has provided services to approximately 35 million Americans in its history.
During World War II, USO performed almost 300,000 performances! When the USO first disbanded, in 1947 it performed over 125,000 performances for troops still deployed abroad, for a total of 425,000 performances!
More than 161 million troops were entertained, during the Second World War, including wounded soldiers and sailors who watched the shows put into 192 different military hospitals.
During World War II, 702 different USO troupes toured the world, entertaining troops. (Military troupes!) Over 7,000 entertainers (many of them famous, most of them not) participated in these performances.
Every year, more than 44,000 volunteers provide approximately 379,000 hours of service through USO. (There is also a relatively small salaried staff of 300 employees spread out among more than 200 locations around the world.)
How to celebrate USO Day
Regardless of how you may feel about some military positions and duties, men and women in uniform are doing their job. Just like all of us. And they deserve our support for putting them in harm's way to protect our way of life.
USO is not part of the United States Government, although it does work with the Department of Defense.
It depends mainly on volunteers and donations to achieve its mission.
So consider donating money or time to a cause.
The USO website has a helpful page with information on how you can donate or even host a fundraiser.
You can also help spread the word. Most people have probably heard of USO. But they may not realize all it does. When they understand, they may also want to help.
And if you see any members of the armed services, say thank you.
When we say they deserve our support, we're talking about the people on the ground doing their job. That is not the same as blindly agreeing with the leadership and the mission they set. Questioning leaders about missions you disagree with does not diminish your support for those who follow orders. They are two separate things.
After all, the military doesn't just protect those of value they agree with. They are protecting us all. And we can support them all.
ObservedUSO Day has been observed annually on February 4th.
Tuesday, February 4th, 2020
Thursday, February 4th, 2021
Friday, February 4th, 2022
Saturday, February 4th, 2023
Sunday, February 4th, 2024