Residents celebrate veterans’ sacrifices

WARREN – Alivia Ferradino, 7, stayed home from school Monday to get educated in a different way: To learn about honoring the veterans who have served our country.

She and her brother, Ethan, 3, waved American flags and scrambled for candy as the annual Trumbull County Veterans Day parade kicked off in downtown Warren.

“It feels wonderful. It was great,” said their father, Marines veteran Joseph Ferradino, who served from 2001 to 2005.

This was Joseph Ferradino’s first year attending the Warren event. He attended different commemorations in the past.

“It was a lot more involved with the Veterans Commission, the honors that they gave,” he said, but expressed his disappointment that more people didn’t attend.

Ferradino, who works at Delphi, took a personal day since the company no longer honors Veterans Day as a holiday.

“The union president said they took away Veterans Day because nobody cares about Veterans Day any more,” he said.

Although the remark angered him, he said there was some truth to it.

“When they offer people to work, it’s triple time. People sacrificed their lives, and you’re more worried about your money than taking the time to honor veterans.

”I don’t think it should be a negotiated holiday,” he said. “I told my daughter she didn’t have to go to school today.”

His wife, Tami Ferradino, said she was happy that the city held the parade and that people still take part in it. Veterans are often recognized during times of war, she said, but afterwards they are forgotten.

Tami Ferradino, who works with a kids club at First Presbyterian Church of Howland, is helping the children make cards with candy in them to send to the troops for Thanksgiving. The Ferradinos even saved some of the candy they caught during the parade for the troops.

The parade was preceded by a Veterans Day commemoration at First Presbyterian Church in Warren, which recognized the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice agreement.

Army veteran Fritz O’Grady of Warren said he has been attending the parade for more than 50 years, but this was the first year he attended the church ceremony.

“It was great. I liked it,” said O’Grady, 83, who served in the Signal Corps from 1952 to 1953. He also had three brothers who served, the youngest of whom during the Korean War. All of them returned home safe.

“They signed the armistice when i was coming home,” he said. “I’m getting older, and I’ve heard so much about that church, I wanted to see it.”

His sister-in-law, Donna O’Grady, 74, said she wouldn’t miss it.

“The patriotic feeling that you get, supporting our troops – it reminds you that they served your country,” she said.

Joyce Brothers of Warren said attending the ceremony is the least she can do.

“I appreciate everything veterans have done. It’s always emotional to me to see the fallen soldier (tribute). That’s always a moving thing for me,” she said.

She and her mom, Jan Bland of Warren, are family members of Monday’s main speaker, Korean War veteran Bob Brothers. But listening to him speak is not the reason they attend the yearly event.

“My husband believed in supporting the community. Our tradition is being carried on by our daughter,” she said.

Bland’s late husband served in the Navy during the second cold war.

“I’m impressed with how many veterans are here today. I thought it was inspiring,” she said.

Marines veteran Chuck Wilmouth of Howland said it’s also important to recognize the veterans’ families.

“The support at home, the wives, the daughters, (we should note) how important they are to the veterans,” he said.

Wilmouth’s son, Kyle, is a Marines captain.

“Veterans are very close to my heart. If it weren’t for the veterans, we wouldn’t be able to embrace the liberties and freedoms that were given to us,” he said.

Wilmouth said America is still the best hope for the world.

“I believe that with my heart, too. I have seen the other side of that coin, the oppression in the world. I believe if you were to ask most of the military, they’d agree with that,” he said.