The sun was shining bright in Leesville as the community gathered to honor the life and service of a Vietnam veteran. On Wednesday afternoon, at the Central Louisiana Veterans Cemetery people from all walks of life came out to honor Peter Paul Bousquet, a veteran of the Vietnam war.
The surrounding community was determined to honor Bousquet in the proper fashion and since he had no family as his own, the community stepped in to show their gratitude at his funeral.
He entered military service in 1966 and was honorably discharged in 1971.
He served during the Vietnam War and spent some time as a stock clerk and cook while he was in the service.
Representatives from Fort Polk, the VFW, American Legion and the Patriot Guard Riders came out in full force.
War veterans and area citizens were also in attendance to honor him.
Many who were there didn’t know him personally, but felt the need to honor someone who served our country during a time of great crisis.
Randall Bryan, a local veteran who attended the service, spoke on the bond shared between people in the armed forces.
“It looks like there are over 100 people here today, and I think that’s great. I wish we could get thousands to come honor our fallen veterans,” said Bryan. “I did not know him personally but there is a kinship between us. We were both in the military and we both fought for this country. Personally, I am very proud of him and his service.”
One local citizen spoke on the importance of honoring the military and the need to stress the importance to younger generations.
“It is important that people support our veterans. I think it’s also important to show my great grandson how important this is,” Lois Warren said.
Warren’s husband is buried at the cemetery and she brought her great grandson to teach him the significance of honoring those who serve our country.
“I wouldn’t have traded my life with my husband for anything in the world. I do feel connection to those who serve our country. I think it is sad when there is no family to honor a fallen soldier.” Warren said.
Chief of Plans and Operations at Fort Polk Mark S. Leslie spoke during the service. He also talked about how those that serve in the military have a unique bond with one another.
“Military service often forms lifelong friendships cultivated by shared hardship. It is something truly unique about our culture. In danger minutes are days, days are weeks, and months are years. In that time you get to know the character of a man pretty quick. It is a brotherhood that is unexplainable to those who have not served in the military.” Leslie said.
He closed by stating that Bousquet was part of a select portion of the population who have served in the military and expressed his gratitude to be able to honor him.
“In a nation of roughly 90 million people, less than one percent have served in the military. He was part of that elite one percent,” said Leslie. “Peter Paul Bousquet I salute you, rest in peace.”
Bousquet died on June 30 at the age of 73. He was eulogized by Sandy Guynn and prayer was led by Maurice Johnson.