ALLEGANY — For Matthew Rado Sr., who is a member of the U.S. Army Reserves, attending Veterans Day ceremonies Monday with his young son, Matthew Jr., was a family tradition that couldn’t be missed — despite cold, damp weather.
Rado, along with other veterans, their families and area residents, were in attendance at the ceremony conducted by the Allegany American Legion, Post 892.
Rado, who served 12 active years out of his 21-year career, said he is used to bad weather from his years of service to the country during Operation Enduring Freedom in the Middle East. Also in attendance at the event were Rado’s father, Joe Rado, a veteran, and Joe’s twin brother, Dave, also a veteran. Rado noted his brother is also a veteran.
“We’re a very patriotic family. … It’s a proud tradition,” he said.
His father, Joe, said another family tradition is to hang the flags of the different branches of service of their sons and brothers on the family porch on Maple Avenue during patriotic holidays. In addition to the American flag, the flags on the porch represented the Army, Air Force and Navy.
Bill Moore, commander of the Allegany American Legion, said he had the honor of speaking at the short ceremony, which was kept brief due to the weather. A 21-gun salute was provided by the Legion’s Honor Guard.
“This is a yearly thing for us, good or bad weather,” Moore said of the ceremony. A Vietnam veteran, Moore said the event usually draws in a number of residents, as well as Legion members.
“We mostly just want to show our appreciation (to veterans) that they have served,” Moore said of why the Legion stages the ceremony in all types of weather.
Dave Howard, a trustee with the Legion, said another important function of the Legion is to conduct military funerals throughout the year for local veterans.
Legion chaplain Ray McKinney noted the Legion riders, who were in attendance at the event, serve an important role for the organization.
“They are extremely active and have done a lot of good stuff the last few years,” McKinney said, adding the Riders visit nursing homes and veterans at those facilities. “The Riders will be visiting the local nursing homes right before Christmas.”
McKinney, a Vietnam veteran, said a personal point of pride for him is that his grandson is leaving for bootcamp next week to become a Navy SEAL.
“Since he was six years old, he always wanted to be a SEAL” McKinney remarked.
Brett Marvin, director of the Legion Riders said the group also plans to provide Thanksgiving meals to families in need during the upcoming weeks.
“Hopefully we’ll have Christmas gifts for the children in veterans families,” he added. “We do a lot in the wintertime.”
Another military family member in attendance at the ceremony was Penny Lippert, who watched the event with her toddler granddaughter, Kynlee Hopkins. Lippert said her son, Micah Hopkins, who is Kynlee’s father, is in the Reserves.
“I also have several brother-in-laws here and a father-in-law (who is a veteran),” Lippert said of the numerous reasons she attends the ceremonies.
Following the event, the veterans and others in attendance were invited to the Legion on Route 417 in town to warm up with chili and good company.
(Contact reporter Kate Day Sager at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter, @OTHKate)