MONUMENTS TO DEDICATION: Two towering All-American figures, Lindsay Bloom (left) and Michelle DellaFave (right), stand shoulder-to-shoulder (well, almost) with a third — the Washington Monument — with only D.C.’s famous Reflecting Pool separating the world’s tallest stone structure (seen in the background) from the two show business legends commanding center stage above.
Its origins in the United States date back to the end of the Civil War, when it was first known as Decoration Day; and its purpose was to serve as a day of remembrance for those who died in service to their country.
In 1971, an Act of Congress assigned what we now know as Memorial Day to the last Monday in May, effectively transforming it into the final leg of a three-day weekend, and thus classifying it, for most Americans, as a time of leisure and the unofficial start of the summer season.
But there are many for whom the occasion has never lost its original significance, and if anything, recent years have witnessed a renewed sense of appreciation, and an upsurge in expressions of reverence, for the sacrifices made by our armed forces — particularly as military personnel continue to give their lives in ongoing conflicts.
The Golddiggers and The Dingaling Sisters, of course, have long and strong historical ties to America’s men and women in uniform, dating back to the late 1960s and early ’70s, when Bob Hope enlisted the all-girl singer-dancers to perform before throngs of eternally grateful G.I.s. in his USO-sponsored overseas tours.
Hope always described those shows as bringing a familiar touch of home to those serving abroad, and the ladies on loan from The Dean Martin Show were every bit the welcome and popular attractions with soldiers on foreign soil that they were in living rooms on the domestic front.
That legacy, which had its beginnings exactly four decades ago this year, was both honored and upheld this past Memorial Day weekend by two Dingaling Sisters emeriti — Michelle DellaFave (she also once of The Golddiggers) and Lindsay Bloom (she also once having played gal Friday to Stacy Keach’s Mike Hammer). Defying the passage of time and still as glamorous as ever, these belissima blondes, as faithful visitors to this website and fans of the pair know, have been professionally reborn within the last year as hot (or cool, depending on your perspective) new duo Blue Eyed Soul.
HONOR GUARD: That’s not his official role here, mind you, but obviously it would be anyone’s honor to guard these two. And likewise, they, no doubt, feel honored to be in the company of those who have guarded, protected and defended the liberty of our country.
In a series of events in Washington, D.C., scheduled by Blue Eyed Soul’s Manager, Wes Guidry (who also happens to be an exec with the Vietnam Veterans of America), Michelle and Lindsay spent last Friday through Monday meeting and chatting with Vets at the site of the Vietnam Wall Memorial; attending a motorcycle rally staged by a group called Rolling Thunder (whose aim is to publicize POW-MIA issues); and performing for patients and staff at the VA Medical Center.
During each of their stops along the way, the two autographed pictures, gave away copies of their new, soon-to-be-released CD, and devoted time to mingling with Vets and other well-wishers.
FROM THE REAL CHINA BEACH: Michelle stands beside an Army nurse who served in Vietnam.
BORN TO BE WILD: (or at least endlessly photogenic), our two would-be chopper chicks pose before a bevy of bikes taking part in the motorcycle parade organized by Rolling Thunder, a Veterans’ group focusing on POW and MIA concerns.
JOY AND COMFORT: Michelle and Lindsay’s warmth, enthusiasm, optimism and compassion bring palpable cheer to two Vets (above and below) with traumatic brain injuries.
On her final day in D.C., Michelle, who was part of the entourage that toured with Bob Hope in 1969 and again in 1970, was accorded the honor of laying a wreath at the Wall, on behalf of a helicopter crew with whom she had flown 37 years ago, and a Marine vet with whom she was reunited during this outing.
PHOTO FINISH: The picture-within-a-picture that you see above is a photograph of the 1970 Golddiggers that Marine Veteran Larry Zok has treasured as a keepsake for the last 37 years. It’s a souvenir from his tour in Vietnam, when he helped escort several young ladies traveling with Bob Hope’s USO show from their helicopter arriving in Danang. There was one girl in the group who especially caught his eye, but he never knew her name and never got her autograph…until this past Memorial Day, when serendipity reunited him with that mystery girl, and enabled him to finally nab her signature on that picture. Said Larry: “I had to wait almost 40 years to find out MY angel’s name: Michelle DellaFave! Always had a crush on her. Always will.”
A SOLEMN MOMENT: Michelle salutes America’s fallen heroes after placing a wreath at the site of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.
Just as they had done many times in the past, Michelle and Lindsay gave of their own time this Memorial Day to those who’ve given so much to their country. But as their Manager Wes Guidry noted, both ladies acknowledge that for all that they’ve given, they’ve also received so much in return.