LOS ANGELES – Military personnel have always been close to the heart of Phyllis Diller, who toured overseas on Bob Hope's USO tours.
So it's no surprise the 89-year-old comedian agreed to the role of a national spokeswoman for the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial. A $65 million building campaign is under way for the privately funded effort.
"Life is surrounded by humor and I have spent a lifetime poking fun at myself and sometimes others, but the one thing that I know from seeing firsthand on many occasions is that war and the impact of it is devastating," Diller said in a statement Tuesday.
The memorial, authorized in 2000 by then-President Clinton, will be the nation's first permanent tribute to the 3 million disabled American veterans living today, including more than 7,000 from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the many thousands from previous wars who have since died.
The memorial will be located on a more than 2-acre site across from the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington. No public funds will be used.
"I have spent a lifetime entertaining, working with and doing all I can to support our armed forces. To be a part of building a memorial to honor disabled American veterans is truly an honor and commitment I am pleased to make," Diller said.