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All are winners at Senior Games

| Monday, June 28, 2004

On Dec. 22, 1944, in Bastogne, Belgium, with the 101st Airborne Division surrounded and facing incredible odds during the Battle of the Bulge, a German commander offered surrender terms to U.S. Gen. Tony McAuliffe.

McAuliffe's response: "Nuts!"

That single word became a symbol of American courage and determination.

Recently at Laurel Highlands High School, more than 150 senior citizens from Washington, Greene and Fayette counties said "Nuts" to old age and competed courageously and with great determination at the 18th annual Senior Games.

Many of the seniors were young adults during World War II, a time when the nation rallied behind the Allied effort to defeat Japanese imperialism and the Nazi concepts of world domination and genocide. In efforts to support U.S. soldiers, sailors and Marines, Americans learned to do without. Women left their homes to take factory jobs traditionally reserved for men. Together, on the battlefield and off, World War II-era Americans built the greatest industrial complex and fighting machine in the world, and by doing so are considered by many to be "the greatest generation."

It is not surprising, then, that Fayette seniors continue to live vital, active lives. They do not limit their efforts to the Senior Games. Throughout the year, these valuable Americans enrich senior centers, volunteer their time to help others and participate in many recreational activities.

They deserve respect and recognition for their accomplishments and efforts both as younger and older men and women.

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Area Agency on Aging, Fayette County Community Action Agency Inc., Albert Gallatin Human Services, Crosskeys Human Services, Connellsville Area Senior Tigers and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program joined to organize the event. Officials with these agencies understand the value of seniors, who contribute to society each day.

We support the efforts of seniors and the social service agencies that serve them.

Gumption made America great, and those who participated in the Senior Games have plenty of it.

Congratulations to those who brought home medals and awards, but they were not the sole winners in the Senior Games. Every participant was a champion for the causes of older Americans, and every one was a winner.

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