Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Tribute To Martha Raye

While I was in Vietnam I had the fortune to see Martha Raye. Many younger people will not remember her. She was an actress and comedian who performed in the 40's, 50's, and 60's. I have read about and heard many stories of her from the Vietnam War. She performed for the troops in three different wars. And during the Vietnam War most all of her visits were paid for and arranged by her, not the government. She was a nurse also. And at times pitched in to help when it was needed. Many of her visits to see the troops were in dangerous conditions, but she went with no regard for her own safety.

The story I would like to tell occured in 1966 at Dong Ha just south of the DMZ. We had just came into the basecamp after almost an intire month fighting in the jungles along the DMZ. We were a ragged bunch with worn and smelly clothes on our backs. The first night back we were treated to a performance by Martha. She stopped in the middle of her performance to go give blood for some injured troops who had just been flown in. This alone endeared us to her. The following night a couple of my buddies went looking for her to get an autograph. They found her with a group of officers. One of the officers told my friends to leave. Martha scolded the officer and left with my friends. They found a spot and set down and visited with her. She was very friendly and put them as ease with her caring personality.

She was a specail lady and I am sure there are many more veterans out there who can recall a story about her caring heart. X.

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