Veterans, active military gather for Thanksgiving meal in DeRidder

Published: Nov. 24, 2022 at 7:06 PM CST
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DeRidder, LA (KPLC) - As we take the time to give thanks today, active servicemembers and veterans spent time together for a Thanksgiving meal at Veterans of Foreign Wars in DeRidder.

This yearly tradition is a bonding experience for those who have served their country.

Post Commander Larry Koons said it’s become something special over the years, especially for some of the older veterans.

“Just today I want to say we’ve had three or four that came up to me, and this is the only time they get out of their homes every year, and they’ve been coming here for many years and they look forward to this every year just as we do,” Koons said.

Many conversations were had as they reminisced and expressed gratitude to one another while eating some Thanksgiving favorites.

Active member of the U.S. Army Will Sitze said it’s about forming a brotherhood with those who also served their country.

“It brings you together with people you have that common bond with and it makes sharing and valuing those experiences you have a lot more meaningful,” Sitze said.

One veteran makes it his goal to inspire other veterans who may be struggling to keep moving forward.

“Nine times out of 10 somebody is in a lot worse shape than I am and perhaps to encourage them to keep going,” said veteran Basil Lloyd Tinker.

For many veterans its a chance to talk about their time overseas. For Tinker, he’s seen a lot in his 24 years.

“My situation was different than a lot of folks and so therefore we usually end up discussing some of my experiences as opposed to some they had to experience,” Tinker said.

This is the 15th year Post 3619 has served a Thanksgiving meal to veterans.