At LightWorkers we are passionate about honoring those who serve, have served and have even given their lives for our great country. Today we look among us to honor those still standing—those who fought alongside their fallen friends and willingly put their lives in danger to defend our freedom.
Veterans are among us, each with stories and memories that deserve to be heard, respected and remembered. Perhaps it’s the grandpa who watched his friends fall beside him while serving in Vietnam, or a fellow classmate returning to school after a long tour in Afghanistan.
On this day, take the time to seek out and thank those who have served to protect and defend our freedom; the grandparents, siblings, neighbors, grocery clerks, teachers—and yes, even the celebrities.
Veterans are among us, each with stories and memories that deserve to be heard, respected and remembered.
Surprisingly, our history is scattered with celebrities who have served their country. Some were drafted and some even put aside the glam and fame to willingly enlist. You might only know them as your favorite singer or actor, but here are a few celebrities that actually served in the military:
1. Tony Bennett
Before Tony Bennett’s career as one of the most famous crooners of our time, he served in the United States Army at the tail end of World War II as a member of the 63rd Infantry. Although he famously downplays his military career when asked about it, Bennet came close to death more than once and his regiment was instrumental in liberating the prisoners of Germany’s Landsberg concentration camp in April 1945.
You get to see them at their most vulnerable and they’re literally going to back you up. All pretenses dissolve.
Even after Germany surrendered, Tony stayed in Europe as part of the occupying force, singing with a Special Services band that entertained the troops.
2. Adam Driver
Shortly after the September 11 attacks and long before his villainous role as Kylo Ren in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Adam Driver joined the United States Marine Corps. He served for almost three years before an honorable discharge due to injury.
When speaking of the intense bond he formed with his fellow marines, despite their different backgrounds and beliefs, Driver shared, “You’re in this high-stakes environment where who you are as a person is constantly tested. And, in my experience, a lot of the people I was closest to in the military were very self-sacrificing. For me, it speaks volumes, more than how well they were able to articulate, or whatever front they were putting on. You get to see them at their most vulnerable and they’re literally going to back you up. All pretenses dissolve.”
3. Bea Arthur
“Golden Girls” darling Bea Arthur is famous for being one of the few female celebs who voluntarily enlisted in the service. She enlisted at the age of 21 in early 1943 under her original name, Bernice Frankel. Not much is known about her time in service due to her unwillingness to go into detail about this time of her life. However, as a member of the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve, we do know that Arthur served by driving trucks and typing memos for nearly three years.
And while we take this day to honor those who fell while serving our country, we must also look around us to honor those still standing—those who fought alongside their fallen friends and willingly put their lives in danger to defend our freedom.
In a handwritten note found amongst the records of her enlistment interviews, the Marine interviewer remarked, “Officious—but probably a good worker—if she has her own way!” She received an honorable discharge in 1945.
4. Elvis Presley
When men all over the country were being drafted, Elvis Presley was determined to not receive any special treatment. Elvis is one of the rare celebrities who served in the military after some of his most famous hits like “Hound Dog,” “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Jailhouse Rock” had already made him wildly famous. In fact, Elvis met his long-time friend and tour manager, Joe Esposito, while serving together in Germany. The two remained close until his death in 1977.
“The army can do anything it wants with me,” he said. “Millions of other guys have been drafted, and I don’t want to be different from anyone else.”
5. Drew Carey
“While in the Marine Reserves, I was looking for a way to make some more money, and it was suggested that I try using my jokes.” -Drew Carey.
Surprisingly, the army is where the now famous comedian actually got his start in stand-up comedy—and also, according to Carey, where he adopted his trademark crew cut and horn-rimmed glasses.
In 1981, Carey entered the United States Marine Corps Reserve and served for 6 years. Still active in the United Services Organization, Carey has since visited military bases in Iraq to perform comedy for troops.
“I think if I did not have such a great break, I would still be in the military,” said Carey. “I still wear my hair short and have the glasses. Also, I enjoyed the regimen and camaraderie. I knew that once I left the Reserves, I would give back to the military, so I teamed up with the USO.”
A post shared by Drew Carey (@drewfromtv) on