As the master of ceremonies, Eddie Cantor gave a tribute to Glenn Miller at his band’s final concert in November 1945, held almost a year after Miller’s plane went missing during a flight over the English Channel while he was serving in the Air Force performing with a military orchestra.
Here’s what he said:
Glenn Miller was a very wonderful man who led a very wonderful band. As a civilian, he led an orchestra that for three and a half years was the number one band in America. Glenn could have stayed here in America. He could have stayed and made himself a lot more money, and then, if he wanted to, he could have retired, an independently wealthy man. But he chose not to. He was an extremely patriotic man, and he felt an intense obligation to serve his country that had gone to war. So, he disbanded his great orchestra, and he formed an even greater one. Still, he could have remained here in America. But again, he chose not to. Instead, he chose to take himself and his orchestra overseas, to where he felt he could do the best for our fighting men. And what a tremendous morale-building job he and his men did over there.