The 55th Reunion of the Class of 1957

22 May 2012

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the entertainment portion of the evening.  We will begin with a talk by Bob Stevens, K-2.

Bob was a “P” in the English Department, served in the artillery for 27 years in command positions from platoon through Army garrison, and in staff assignments from battalion to the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He served one combat tour as Executive Officer of an Automatic Weapons Battalion in Vietnam.  

After completing his final Army tour in command of Fort Myer, Virginia, he retired in 1984. He spent the next nine years working for a Defense contractor, putting together major computer systems for the Army. 

He completed his working life serving for five years as a consultant to the US Congress, House Appropriations Committee, analyzing military readiness, as well as large-scale computer systems government-wide.

 

He now enjoys life in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware with his lovely wife Nancy.

 

OK, Bob, tell us about West Point – then and now…

Before we introduce the ’57 Follies, please join me in thanking our class officers led by our president, Gerry Galloway, for a terrific reunion.  Gentlemen, please stand…

(Applause)

Provided he does not have us stack these hotel tables (our liability insurance wouldn’t cover it), please welcome the incomparable Jack Vickers to lead us in the ROCKET!

 Welcome to the 2012, 55th Reunion Edition of the ’57 Follies!  The cast for this evening features returning stars Bill Seely (producer and performer), Bill Webb, John Sankey, Bob Tener, and Ann and Jerry Zabriskie.

(Kisses Sweeter than Wine)

We regret that Marie Cortez could not share this duo with Bill Seely as she has in the past, but she has deputized Bill to do it solo, but only this time…Bill, “Kisses Sweeter than Wine”.

(Trombone Number)

We all remember the white and green sentry box that would miraculously appear on the stage of the old Army Theater with a trombone slide protruding from one narrow window.  Well here’s the man at the other end of that trombone…

John Sankey, representing the Sentry Box Six (minus 5) plus one – Jerry Zabriskie  

(“Weird Oriental Number”)

Bill Seely has never denied us an opportunity to hear music from his youthful, carefree days in japan. 

Tonight he will sing what he refers to as a “Weird Oriental Number”  wonder if we have heard it before…Bill Seely!

(Rodger Young)

In July 1943 on an island in the Pacific a young sergeant  squad leader whose hearing and eye sight had deteriorated asked to be reduced to private and relieved of his leadership position to avoid endangering his men yet still remain with them in combat.  One week later on July 31, although wounded in a Japanese ambush, he rushed towards his unit’s greatest threat – a machine gun emplacement approaching close enough to attack it with hand grenades.  While doing so he was mortally wounded, but his actions allowed his platoon to escape.  In January 1944 Private Rodger Young was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

In 1945, two-time Tony Award winner Frank Loesser wrote the song “The Ballad of Roger Young”

 

Bill Webb, Bill Seely, Bob Tener, and again Bill Webb will sing the four verses of “Roger Young”; we will all sing the chorus after each verse. 

The words for this and the remaining songs are in your program.

First, I ask all former Glee Club and Chapel Choir members to join us on the stage.  Bring your program with you for the words of some of the songs you may not have committed to memory (or if you had done so, you might forget them between now and when we sing them!).  If you are so moved, you Infantry files may stand at your tables for what many refer to as the Infantry Hymn.

(Glee Clubbers and Choir members assemble)

 Bill…

 

(America the Beautiful)

And now Ann and Jerry Zabriskey will do a piano-brass duet of America the Beautiful.

(Service Medley)

Directed by Bill Webb, we will now all sing a medley of service songs.  We invite you to stand when your service song is sung.  The medley includes the Air Force Song, Anchors Aweigh, the Marine Corps Hymn, the Coast Guard Hymn, and the Army Goes Rolling Along. Again, the words are in your program.

 

 

(Benny Havens, Oh)

I invite you to stand for the last three numbers, beginning with Benny Havens, Oh.

(Army Blue)

Our next to last song is Army Blue.  We will sing this all together except Bill Webb will do verse 2 solo.

(God Bless America)

He may not look like her, but Bill Webb will sing the Kate Smith’s famous introduction to GOD BLESS AMERICA and we’ll all join in to finish it.

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This concludes the 55th Reunion Edition of the ’57 Follies. How about another round of applause for our troop!

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In his book “The Greatest Generation", Tom Brokaw writes that "they stayed true to their values of personal responsibility, duty, honor, and faith". By writing that "they stayed true to their values", Brokaw establishes that these men and women were dependable and sincere in their actions. His usage of the words "personal responsibility" alludes to the obligation each individual felt towards helping his country during times of need; the selfless nature of these people is repeated in the word "duty". The word "honor" refers to their perennial virtue and integrity, and their seemingly endless optimism, and firm belief in their cause is implied in the word "faith". These words: “personal responsibility", "duty", "honor", and "faith" - -convey an ethic marking this generation as the ideal Americans – a generation that is and will always be remembered as truly great.

Borrowing some thoughts of retired Marine General Anthony Zinni, I reflect on Brokaw’s words and on our generation of service and I see close parallels – we were young and innocent – we became wiser and lost that innocence – we became wiser beyond our years.

Respectfully Mr. Brokaw, I submit that we, at least those who served our nation, were as much the greatest generation as any that preceded us – no one can diminish that honor.  We served tours in Vietnam and won the Cold War – can you imagine if we didn’t?  We contributed to defeating the greatest threat to mankind, who had weapons of mass destruction, in the last century.

My only hope is that those who follow will eclipse our achievements and that we can stand in the wings and applaud their truly becoming the next greatest generation!

God Bless them and God Bless America!  

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And now we have dance music provided by our DJ Greg Caramuchi (Sp?) until 11:30 (or 2230 for those who still use the 24 hour clock).

Thank You – Enjoy the rest of the evening, have a safe journey home and see you at the 60th!