Hollywood is a place where people
who pretend to be somebody convince themselves that they are
somebody. Celebrity bestows false moral authority upon the
socially shallow and the intellectually lazy.
Witness the vacuous anti-war
rebels now populating Tinsel Town. Martin Sheen could
never be president, but he thinks he's important because he
plays one on TV. Now George Clooney seems to be the latest
mouthpiece of the special people whose lives are so far removed
from America that they barely resemble us anymore.
Holding forth on matters about
which he knows virtually nothing, Clooney has been shooting his
mouth off overseas lately. Speaking in Berlin over the
weekend, Clooney said that war with Iraq seems "as unavoidable
as it is senseless". Referring to the United States, he added,
"We can't beat anyone anymore."
Patriotism was not always a dirty
word among those who entertained us. There was a time when
Hollywood's rich and famous shared the sacrifice of war with
their fans. The last time America was attacked, the list
of those who served in uniform read like a Who's Who of
Don Adams, U.S. Marine
Corps, contracted malaria while serving on Guadalcanal.
James Arness, U.S. Army,
was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star after being
wounded at Anzio.
Jackie Coogan volunteered for
hazardous flight duty in the Army Air Corps.
Charles Durning won three Purple
Hearts and the Silver Star after surviving the D-Day landing
on Omaha Beach, being captured by the Germans, escaping and
being wounded during the Battle of the Bulge.
Glenn Ford served in the Navy
during World War II and in the reserves during Korea and
Lee Marvin, U.S. Marine
Corps, was wounded fighting the Japanese during the battle of
Audie Murphy, U.S. Army,
the most decorated man ever to serve in uniform in the history
of the United States, received every medal the nation had to
offer, including the coveted Medal of Honor.
Jack Palance, U.S. Army
Air Corps, required facial reconstruction from injuries
sustained when his B-17 crash-landed in 1943.
Jason Robards, U.S. Navy,
was on duty as a radioman at Pearl Harbor during the Japanese
Robert Stack, U.S. Navy,
was assigned to teach anti-aircraft gunnery because of his
experience as an Olympic champion skeet shooter.
For those who would point out that
most of these men became famous as actors after their service,
consider these names:
Henry Fonda, who had already
received critical acclaim as Tom Joad in "The Grapes of
Wrath", nevertheless joined the Navy and received the Bronze
Star for Valor.
Clark Gable, whose star was as
high as anyone in Hollywood after his portrayal of Rhett
Butler in "Gone With the Wind", joined the U.S. Army Air
Corps as a private in 1942, even though he was beyond draft
age. He attended Officers' Candidate School, aerial
gunnery training and then flew operational missions over
Europe in B-17s.
Ronald Reagan served as a
Captain in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Because of a
severe hearing loss, he was not allowed any flying duties.
Jimmy Stewart, who had starred
in several movies in the late thirties and early forties,
joined the Army Air Corps where, as a bomber pilot and squadron
commander, he lead a number of strikes against Germany during
World War II and rose to the rank of colonel. For his
service, he won both the Air Medal and the Distinguished
And then there was good old
"Bogey". Humphrey Bogart, who had been wounded while serving
in the Navy during World War I, also tried to enlist in World
War II, but was turned down because of his age.
Although many of these Americans
had lived a pampered life of wealth and leisure while the rest
of the country suffered through the Great Depression of the
1930s, when it came time to serve the nation that had given them
so much, they volunteered to fight alongside the sons of coal
miners and accountants and salesmen.
Loony Clooney and his ilk should
read the history of the honorable men who went before them.
1. Source of information on actors who served in
World War II: