Local military appreciation events cancelled

Veterans Voices

ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Wall That Heals at the Van Zandt VA Medical Center in Altoona was mostly quiet Sunday for Vietnam Veterans Day. Now other major events honoring our veterans have been cancelled or are under review.

Ivan Riggle, of Tipton, is the assistant chair of the committee that organizes local Armed Services Day events every May 16. The event, now cancelled, normally draws about 100 visitors.

He is a Vietnam veteran and founding member of the local chapter of The Combat Vets Motorcycle Association. Only eight people joined their first annual Combat Vets Ride between Tyrone and The Wall That Heals, due to recent social distancing orders.

Riggle, a grandfather of two, says that this pandemic has become personal and impacted everyone’s life around him.

“For my generation, I was born in ’47, there have been traumatic events. But this is affecting everyone in the world.” said Riggle, “around here, in Blair County, I think they’re doing a good job in terms of social distancing.”

Riggle says that while he can’t visit his grandchildren or participate in local community events, he will try and honor those who died in service from home and encourages everyone else to do so.

Plans for the Altoona Memorial Day Parade are still being discussed but that too may be cancelled.

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