DC residents came together this year at the Howard University School of Divinity to witness the miracle of a 102 year old man with the courage and determination to compete in tennis when most people have ceased to exist. They met two brothers who still swim in competitive events when most citizens their age have stopped all sports. Welcome to the Age Challenge and a program sponsored by the American Association of Retired Persons.
In the new television documentary, The Age Challenge, AARP members were able to view a DVD that dispels the myth that older Americans no longer can compete in a youth driven society. Watching Bradford Tatum tell his doctor that he wants to wait to have cancer surgery until after he competes in the Senior Olympics is enough to make any senior ashamed for feeling that their best days have passed.
The Tatum Brothers are heroes to many in the District because they represent the very essence of hard work and determination overcoming the odds. For example, when the brothers started swimming in the 1930's they could not swim in the swimming pools in the city. The laws of segregation forced them to swim in the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Yet, they were not bitter. They were determined.
AARP is the nation's greatest advocate for seniors. The program today was presented in coordination with Howard University and continued the relationship that Howard has had with the Senior Olympics and the D.C. Department of Aging. The audience was delighted with the television documentary that recorded senior citizens doing extraordinary things.
Prior to the screening of the excellent television documentary AARP representatives gave AARP members the opportunity to discuss Social Security proposed changes. The plan to increase the age limit for 65 to 67 for some senior benefits was contested because many seniors do not live long enough to get their benefits. Another AARP member was deeply concerned about the plan to change to a voucher program. "I want nothing to do with vouchers. Many seniors do not have the skills to manage that kind of payment," the member said.