The Ludley-McCall-Williams American Legion Post 593 held its 12th Annual Veterans Day Program on Friday.
James Calvin Austin, a veteran of the United States Army and chief of Ruston Fire Department, served as guest speaker. He served in the Army from 1974-1980.
At the ceremony there was a Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Empty Chair Ceremony conducted by Past Commander Ronnie Lyons who is 5th District, DEC, Dept. of LA.
Ewing L. Collier, Commander of Post 593, said this ceremony is part of all of their gatherings.
“We perform this action to acknowledge those individuals not accounted for in all wars and those not returned. We have a moment of silence as we think about them and pray for them. We will continue to do so until all are accounted for and returned,” said Collier.
Ronald Washington, owner of Paradise Funeral home, was in charge of the flag-folding ceremony. He does it for veterans that his funeral home buries, so the veterans asked him to do it for Veterans Day.
“Freedom is not free. Freedom has been paid for by all of our veterans of the past and the present soldiers. We have soldiers who have given their lives for our country. The least we can do is have a day that we commemorate all of our veterans and say thank you for the things they have done and are doing to protect our country and make America what it is today,” said Washington.
Another person who knows the importance of honoring our veterans is Grambling State University student, Kenya Clay of New Orleans.
The freshman nursing major said, “It is important to have such programs because we do not get to thank our troops every day. This is one day we could say thank you because they are fighting for our country, and not everyone is brave enough to do that.”
“I do not think everybody knows why we celebrate veterans’ day. The military is a big thing. Troops are fighting for people they do not even know. If I could say one thing I would say ‘thank you’ and tell them how brave they are,” she said.
Clay’s favorite part of Austin’s speech is when he explained what the American flag represented.