By Maureen Kyle
(LOUISVILLE, May 13th, 2004) -- Swing dancing and the Jitterbug -- the 1940s was an era with great dance moves. As part of our salute to Kentuckiana's Greatest Generation, WAVE 3's Maureen Kyle takes a look at a veteran who is still cuts a mean rug.
Al Cerebie and his best girl, Lil Riggs are usually the fastest feet on the dance floor. The couple dances to their favorite band, the Mello Tones, twice a week.
"I probably started dancing when I was about 13 or 14 years old," Al says.
According to the 87-year-old World War II veteran, his dancing feet are better than his trigger finger. "When I was on a firing range down at Fort Knox, it was for the pistols, firing the pistols. The captain came up to me and said, 'you're not doing it right. Do it like this.' I had my gun up like this and all of a sudden the gun went off. So the captain ran away from me -- he said 'do it how you want!'"
Al spent his time in Europe serving as a clerk, but he still remembers the gruesome aftermath of the battles. "Where the Battle of the Bulge, we went through there, and to see all the crosses and things of all the people who lost their lives fighting for the freedom."
In 1946, Al moved back to his hometown of New York City, where he worked as a bookkeeper. But he decided to move to his wife's hometown, Louisville in 1987. When his wife died in 1993, Al followed in the footsteps of some of his idols, like Jack Benny and Ingrid Bergman, and began entertaining.
Now Al sings with the Silver Notes, and is the senior member in the Young Hearts Theater Group. He says he recently appeared as the dame in South Pacific -- with much comic effect. "Well, when I came out, I was supposed to sing. I don't think anybody heard me sing, they were laughing so much."
All the dancing and singing seem to keep Al young and healthy. "When I leave the doctor's office, he always tells me to keep dancing. It's very good exercise for you physically and mentally."
Al says he can't believe it has been more than 60 years since World War II, but then again, he doesn't act like it either.
Al Cerebie is also a member of the Knights of Columbus, American Legion Zachary Taylor Post and the VFW Post in Middletown.
Online Reporter: Maureen Kyle