SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Some Veterans Day observances got underway early this year. That included one such event at the VA Medical Center in Shreveport.
Veterans, their loved ones, along with staff from the Overton Brooks VA Medical Center in Shreveport, all came together for an early observance of Veterans Day.
Overton Brooks VA Medical Center Director Richard Crockett told the gathered audience outside the VA on a chilly Friday morning why such events are so important.
"Literally, this is more than just something that sounds good in a 30 second soundbite, but every day is Veterans Day here."
Through prayers and performances we met purple heart recipient Michael Stark, who described how such ceremonies take him back 51 years to the jungles of Vietnam.
"I think about the guys that never came back. Some of them were my friends."
Stark is a former Marine and just one of the 18 million veterans in the United States.
While Memorial Day honors those who died while service, Veterans Day honors all military veterans.
Stark recalled how he somehow survived a grenade explosion and even has the shrapnel still in his legs to prove it.
"If it'd had been American made grenade or a Russian made grenade I probably wouldn't be here."
After months of recovery, Stark told us he spent the balance of his 2 year enlistment on burial detail back in the states.
"And so I buried Marines that was getting killed in Vietnam."
Stark recalled that grim task of burials for some of the 58,000 service members killed in Vietnam.
His wish for the public:
"Have more appreciation for veterans and people who served our country; and for the people who gave their life to this country."
Some may ask why we observe Veterans Day on November 11?
It was originally called Armistice Day and signed into law in 1926, recognizing the end of World War I.
What was then called the Great War ended on the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.
Then 28 years later, on this day in 1954, President Eisenhower changed the name to Veterans Day to honor all veterans.