BYRON, Ill. — Americans could not believe their ears when, on Dec. 8, 1941, they would hear their president say, “…the United State of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” Dec. 7, a date that will live in infamy.
To honor the 60th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Byron Civic Theatre will bring the spirit of that time to life on stage through the music, dance and people of World War II and the United Service Organization.
After being formed in 1941 in response to World War II, USO centers were established quickly … in churches, barns, railroad cars, museums, castles, beach clubs and log cabins. Most centers offered recreational activities, such as holding dances and showing movies. And there were the well-known free coffee and doughnuts.
Some USO bases provided a haven for spending a quiet moment alone or writing a letter home, while others offered spiritual guidance and made childcare available for military wives.
Hollywood celebrities were quick to get in the spirit of support by holding “camp shows” here in the United States and in bases abroad to bring “a piece of home” to soldiers defending their country.
In that spirit, Byron Civic Theatre offers free admission to the show to any World War II veteran, and will be offering free doughnuts and coffee to all veterans and present military personnel prior to the show in the Member’s Lounge.
USO Christmas Tour will include songs made famous during World War II such as “Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree,” “Boogie, Woogie Bugle Boy,” “In The Mood,” “White Christmas” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” as well as a tribute to our armed forces.
Dancers, singers and actors from around the area will perform in the style of Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, The Andrews Sisters and Ella Fitzgerald, to name a few.
Tickets for USO Christmas Tour can be purchased by calling the Byron Civic Theatre Box Office at (815) 312-3000 between 6 and 9 p.m., Monday-Thursday, and 9 a.m.-noon, Saturday; by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org; or online at www.bctmagic.com.
USO Christmas Tour opens Nov. 25 and runs through Dec. 4. Performances are at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m., Sundays.
From the Nov. 23-29, 2011, issue