The tragic and sudden death of Robin Williams, 63, saddened the world on Monday morning, but his support for the troops is what many of his fans are talking about today.
Williams was among the first of America’s celebrities to visit the armed forces in a war zone, and in the span of his life he visited more than 89,000 military personnel in both Iraq and Afghanistan with the United Service Organization.
His film career was multi-dimensional, but you might recall the 1987 flick Good Morning, Vietnam, in which he transformed into an armed forces radio DJ, improvised most of his material, and did what he did best-made the world laugh.
“Good morning, Vietnam! Hey, this is not a test. This is rock and roll. Time to rock it from the delta to the DMZ,” he ad-libbed in the war movie more than two decades ago.
The world-renowned comedian became affiliated with the military off the big screen and boosted the morale of thousands of service members in 13 different countries.
“I come here, for you. Because I believe you’re amazing,” he told a group of soldiers while visiting Kuwait in December of 2007.
After Williams entertained large groups of service men and women during the main show, he would reportedly sneak away to visit the active duty troops who were unable to attend.
Millions of fans are mourning Williams’ loss via social media, and some are comparing him to the Bob Hope of their generation for his continued support for the military.
The cause of death was attributed to suicide, and Williams was frequently in and out of rehab for his alcohol and drug addictions. The actor had apparently suffered long-term bouts of anxiety and depression.
Williams never served in the military, but he did hold an obvious respect for American heroes that will never be forgotten.
“From entertaining thousands of service men and women in war zones, to his philanthropy that helped veterans struggling with hidden wounds of war, he was a loyal and compassionate advocate for all who serve this nation in uniform,” Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said in a statement on Monday.