FORT POLK – Fort Polk celebrated the Army's 243rd birthday with a ceremony Thursday morning in front of a crowd of soldiers, family members and community leaders.

The ceremony featured attaching streamers to the Army flag with the streamers representing 17 military campaigns throughout the Army's existence.

"I'm exceptionally proud to be in the Army on the 243rd birthday of the United States Army," Brig. Gen. Patrick Frank said. "Just getting out 3rd Brigade 10th Mountain brigade combat team back here to Fort Polk means a great deal for us to close that team in. We have 43 soldiers that are still at bid, and we'll bring them back here at the end of the week."

Presenting the steamers were JRTC and Fort Polk NCO of the Year SGT Stephan A. Brazzell and SPC Tristan J. Poston, the JRTC and Fort Polk Soldier of the Year.

"The Army means you're a part of something more than you yourself could ever be part of," Poston said. "You join this legacy when your join the Army of brothers and sisters who have came before you to promote justice and freedom around the world and have sacrificed to achieve that as we saw today with the streamers."

Frank introduced Anacoco Mayor Keith Lewing and Leesville Mayor Rick Allen, whom gave speeches to the crowd about their relationship with Fort Polk.

"We've experienced things in these ceremonies that we've never seen before," Allen said. "We're excited when we come to each one because we know they're going to be different now.

"I'm very familiar with other bases all over the world and the challenges that they face with communities that are not as open and receptive as we are. We're very proud of that."