Pauline Harte

Seniors have earned their discounts

Pauline Harte · August 12, 1997

Not too long ago, there was a letter to the editor of The Mighty Signal from a "gentleman" who complained about the senior discounts issued to the older generation.

"Discrimination!" Mr. Scrooge ranted. "Unfair!" he raved.

Yep, those "old folks" have it made in the shade, all right. They're just living way too high off the hog, what with those fixed incomes and all. How dare they get a few pennies off of that IHOP pancake special or a movie?

Many of these seniors fought in World War II. They put their hopes and dreams on hold, left their loved ones and flew off to hell. Then, after fighting to preserve the freedoms of this country for future generations, they came back to make tract homes and Baby Boomers.

They worked hard, raised their families and retired. They discovered too late that runaway inflation would leave them with considerably less than they had planned.

And after everything these people had done for their country, after all their hard work, many were repaid with substandard living conditions. No matter how little they had, a little more could always be taken away.

In my father's Air Force reunion yearbook, I see the faces of young, handsome airmen. They look like Hollywood heroes as they rakishly pose next to their planes before flying off on missions from which there may be no return. They stand proud and straight next to planes with "pet" names painted on the gleaming metal.

"Piece maker." "Sarah E." "Geronimo." "Texas Peace Maker." These were just a few of the bombers of the fly-boys of the 451st Bomber Squadron who began aerial warfare against the Nazis in July, 1943.

My father-in-law was a Navy man in the South Pacific with the pre-invasion Amphibious Group 5, on the AM317 Mine Sweeper. He fought in the Tarawa Invasion of the Gilbert Islands.

Airman and sailor were married in their military uniforms, and both stood proud and handsome next to their radiant, beautiful brides -- my mother and mother-in-law. Uniforms and medals, veils and satin. How young and vital they looked!

There were no hand-outs for these people, Mr. Scrooge. These men and women worked two, sometimes three jobs at a time while doing a pretty darn good job of raising families.

Seniors have done their time, whether they fought in wars or not, and a senior discount is scant reward for lifetime of hard work.

Old age is an unconquerable foe, Mr. Scrooge. Someday, God willing, you too will be eligible for a senior discount.

And every time you get a few cents off of a meal or a movie, I hope you remember the letter you wrote to this paper those many, many years ago, complaining about the unfairness of senior discounts.

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