Color guard

Schenectady veteran, 95, has been organizing a Flag Day celebration for more than 15 years

Every day Fred Randall looks out his window at the American flag, but he sees what's behind the stars and stripes.

Born and having lived in Schenectady for the majority of his life, Randall has called the Schaffer Heights Senior Apartments his home for 16 years. Even now at 95 years old, Randall has boundless energy and enthusiasm for his Flag Day celebration, which he has organized at the senior apartments every year he has lived there.

Every year, he makes sure a new flag is raised in a show of pride.

I'm a WWII veteran, and I very seriously love that flag out there, said Randall. "It is really a part of my life. I was in the National Guard from the time that I was 17."

He said the crowd he gets at the event is always a good turnout. Various representatives have also attended throughout the years. Hesaid former Mayor Brian Stratton attended the event every year he was in office.

In preparation, Randall had his uniform hanging off a door in his apartment.

"My uniform is hanging right there on the door. I wear it once a year. I used to wear it every day, but those days are gone," he said.

The days of active duty might be behind him, but his passion for playing drums is still strong to this day. At the Flag Day event, on Thursday, June 16, he even will be playing with a 15-piece band.

"When it comes time to play, I feel like a 10-year-old," he said. "I have played since I was 9, and I think it has kept me young."

A picture hanging in his den shows him with a band he formed in Wurzburg, Germany, while he was on active duty.

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