Sanders keynote speaker at veterans celebration

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 29, 2004

Television newscaster Tom Browkaw called World War II veterans, "the greatest generation." Fred Kreps called them "old geezers." The Rev. W.O. Sanders wondered why there has not been another "greatest generation."

Kreps, the adjunct American Legion Post 70 and emcee for the World War II veterans celebration at the Colley Senior Complex Saturday, said 'geezer is slang for "old man."

"Geezers are easy to spot," he said. "When the National Anthem is played at sporting events, the hold their caps over their hearts and sing without embarrassment. They know the words and believe in them."

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Kreps said geezers remember WWI, the Depression, WWII, Pearl Harbor, Guadalcanal, Normandy, the Korean War, the Cold War, not to mention Vietnam.

"Geezers trust strangers and get embarrassed if someone curses in front of women and children," he said. "They don't like violence and filth on TV and in the movies. Geezers have moral courage. They don't brag unless it's about their grandchildren. This country needs geezers with their decent values and common sense.

We need them now more than ever. Today, we honor the geezers, these veterans of World War II, America's greatest generation."

Sanders, a WWII veteran, was the keynote speaker at the celebration and told the veterans his heart still beats faster when he hears the National Anthem or stands to salute Old Glory.

"I haven't lost my love for my country and all that it stands for," he said. "Our generation has been called 'the greatest' generation,' but there have been two generations since our time, so why hasn't there been another 'greatest generation?'"

Sanders answered his own question with biblical references that spoke of the fall of nations as a result of the removal of "things that make a nation great."

"That has already taken place in our country with the disappearance of the American man," Sanders said. "Where are the men with moral backbones and fiber? We no longer have men of war - the men who will stand up for what's right. Where are the Pattons, Bradleys and McArthurs?

"And where are the prophets?"

Sanders said even in the pulpits across America ministers are preaching "feel good' sermons, not preaching about the sins of abortion, alcohol, drugs and babies born out of wedlock.

"Where are those who will speak of these things without fear of what others will say?" he asked. "Where are the Lincolns and the Jeffersons? Where are the men who believe that ethics are more important then economics?

"Where are the Roosevelts and the Trumans?

I don't see them. Where are the statesmen who believe in putting principle above price? They are not on the scene today. We need another generation to keep America great and make her greater. We must have another 'greatest generation' like these veterans here today.

God help us if we don't."