OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) – Family and community gathered together in Opelousas to remember the brave souls who served their country.

Residents of St. Landry Parish stood as one family at the Yambilee Building to honor the fallen heroes who gave their lives during World War 1, World War 2, the Korean war, Vietnam war, and in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Veterans like Al Charlot Jr. say it’s nice to reconnect with fellow Vietnam vets and remember his brothers who didn’t make it home. “It’s good to see all the people that made it back from Vietnam because I have two home boys in church point that died, we went to school together and they died in Vietnam,” says Charlot.

Purple Heart recipient Michael Rideau says services like the one held today remind him of his fellow soldiers and his gratitude to still be alive and free. “We received the purple heart and we were fortunate. We shed blood, but we survived. Most of our comrades, over 58,000 of them are Purple Heart recipients but they’re no longer with us,” Said Rideau.

Families like the Richards also use Memorial Day for keeping the memory alive of their son, Sgt. Joseph Richard III. “He was dedicated to serving his country. He thought he was helping his people,” says Richard.

Community leaders and residents alike feel events like the one held today are at least a small way to show their gratitude for those who served and those who continue to serve.