When 88-year-old Grover Sanders heard that Sunflower Broadband’s Channel 6 was going to videotape holiday greetings for overseas troops, he wavered on whether he wanted to take part.
“First I was going to do nothing, then I was going to do something, then I was going to do nothing,” he said.
But Saturday morning, while reading the newspaper, he decided to take out a clipboard, start writing and a few minutes later have a message ready for the troops.
Wearing his ship cap from World War II, Sanders stood in front of a blue curtain inside the Crown Toyota Pavilion and delivered his remarks on camera.
He told the troops that he saluted them, prayed for them and thanked them. “It seems you have the misery of Valley Forge with IEDs thrown in,” he said. “When the news announces another service person has been killed, tears well up in my eyes.”
Sanders’ message was one of about 20 that were recorded Saturday morning for those at war. Former veterans, families of soldiers and even Santa gave verbal thanks and holiday greetings.
The messages will be put on a DVD and sent to troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. They also will be aired on Channel 6 and KTKA, Sunflower Broadband Channel 12. Sunflower Broadband and KTKA are owned by The World Company, which owns the Journal-World.
While Sanders’ generation might be dubbed as the greatest one for their role in World War II, he said today’s soldiers are just as brave and dedicated. “I want them to realize they have a lot tougher time than I did, than a lot of us had,” he said.
The messages are appreciated, said the National Guardsmen who stood outside the car dealership displaying their Bradley fighting vehicle. “It’s a huge morale booster to know the family is thinking of you,” said Staff Sgt. Scott Winter, who served in Iraq with the Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion of the 137th Infantry.
Miles Schnaer, owner of Crown Chevrolet, Toyota and Scion Inc., said hosting the event felt like the right thing to do.
“The kids are a long ways from home,” he said. “We care about them and want to keep them safe and want them to come home for the holidays. If they can’t, hopefully they can get a little piece of home.”