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Senior Correspondent

Sometimes things are hard to say to you in the little time that is available to say them, what with all the demand on your time. School, studies, sports, distance and friends leave very few moments for a “bumbling” granddad to get a message across. Even as I write, I realize that it may be years before you find the time to sit down and figure out what I'm trying to say.

For veterans of World War II and “The Greatest Generation," time is running out. It has been estimated that we are leaving you at the rate of 11,000 per week in this wonderful country. For one hundred years, we didn't have to apologize to anyone for our country's role in the community of man. For the past 10 years, it's been an embarrassment.

I now apologize for the situation that we now are facing, and I can't say that “it's not my fault and I couldn't do anything about it.” Like too many other people in this country, I sat idly by, enjoying the fruits of my labor, demanding more free time for recreation, spending too much money on personal watercraft, fancy autos, golf clubs, sports tickets, cruises, bass boats, ATVs and fancy second homes at the beach or in the mountains. Whatever our “bag” was, we had to have it. Never mind the homeless, the untreated and the starving in our midst. We needed a larger TV!

We demanded more money for less hours of work and watched our jobs disappear to foreign countries where hungry people now found a chance to feed their families, and at the same time, cover us up with inferior products and drive our national debt out of sight.                                                                                               

We didn't take the time to help attract honest and forthright people into our governing bodies on both sides of the aisle and paid no attention when the ones we did elect traveled the world at our expense, making an “ass” out of themselves, but getting home in time to vote themselves more money into their already absurd and lucrative retirement packages. But let's let someone else worry about that. The blues were biting at Nags Head!

We put people into office who used our money to try out our latest weapon technology on many somewhat defenseless countries, declared “Mission Accomplished” and then tried to buy our way back to world respectability, while sacrificing the lives of our beautiful young men and women.

We signed on the line for the latest “gas guzzlers," watched gas mileage drop while our roadways deteriorated and yelled for more gas from questionable allies, although it tripled in price in five years. But let's take a little more money out of the children's college fund and “fill 'er up again!”

We didn't listen to our law officers when they warned that robberies, murder and rape were increasing at an alarming rate and the use of drugs was draining this country of, not only it's much needed capital, but of some of it's finest young people. We marveled at the construction of the Nascar museum, the Time Warner Coliseum, the National Whitewater center, state-of-the-art jails and many other tremendous drains on our resources, but stood by and watched as our teachers got fired, our libraries, schools, parks, and even swimming pools closed. But we didn't have time for that. We had tickets in the fourth turn at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Bruton Smith needed the money.

I  applaud your successes in the classroom, the athletic field and in your social life. I'm not sure exactly what can be done now to turn this country around. I wouldn't know where to start unless it would be to insist that campaign promises are kept, starting at the local level. Think now, at an early age, what you can do to return our country to past glory. Make public service an honest profession, not a haven for those who can't make an honest living at anything else, and seek only to “feather their own nests”. It's not an impossible task. Gearing up for a worldwide conflict in the 1940s wasn't an impossible task, but it didn't come easy and without tremendous cost. Life in the last half of the 20th century was good, maybe too good. Being complacent while enjoying the good life at the same time was a mistake that our youngsters can still correct. Opportunities are greater today for those who want to work to achieve that special place. Sorry for what we let happen. Suck it up, my loves, and help bring this country back!

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