The Guardian Inn dining facility was abuzz as service members and civilians worked to prepare the annual Thanksgiving meal.

But there was something different about this meal; it was served on Thanksgiving Day.

In the past, it was assumed that soldiers' would be invited to homes in the community for a Thanksgiving dinner but that concept is just a myth.

Many soldiers remain in the barracks and are left eating fast food or MRE's.

Commanders and leaders traditionally serve the Thanksgiving meal to the soldiers on Wednesday as a way to say "Thank you" for your service and sacrifice.

"We wouldn't be today's Army if it wasn't for the soldiers and the leadership. We thank the soldiers for giving their all day-in and day-out. This is the one time that we can physically show them our thanks and we serve them." said CW2 Frank Peterson, 3rd Brigade Food Advisor.

This year approximately 70 military and 40 civilian personnel worked to prepare a deliciously hearty meal for 800 people.

Employees started working on Wednesday to cook a total of 147 pounds of ham, 166 pounds of whole turkeys, 242 pounds of sliced turkey, 152 pounds of cornish hens, 600 servings of stuffing and 428 servings of mashed potatoes among other meal options.

CW2 Peterson said that for him personally, it means a lot to see quality participation as a team to provide this meal.

He was blown away by the decorations and the dedication of the team working together to make this meal happen.

"I couldn't be more proud of this team. SGT (Antonio) Barrett has done a magnificent job of putting this together and making it happen." Peterson said.

Personnel who are assigned to the DFAC are from 3rd BG 10th MTN Division, 519th MP Battalion, 46th ENG Battalion and 509th IN Regiment.

They all work together as a team to feed the soldiers every day.

CW2 Peterson was asked why the day was changed and he said, "General Frank wanted to make sure that everyone had a place to go for Thanksgiving."

Among the guests expected at dinner were roughly 400 soldiers from 25th ID from Schofield Barracks in Hawaii who were at JRTC for training.

Fortunately, many of them were able to head home in time to spend the holiday with their families but those left behind would be catching a flight out that evening.

Before they left General Frank wanted to make sure they had a good meal as well.

SGT Gabriel Gonzalez, a cook himself at Schofield, said the meal was "very delicious, way better than we have at Schofield."

"The cooks here at Fort Polk work really hard and they need this appreciation for what they do here," he said.

Post commander, Brigadier General Patrick D. Frank said that "It is so important to have a Thanksgiving meal on Thanksgiving because so many of our soldiers are still in the barracks."

General Frank said that as long as he is the commander at Fort Polk, soldiers stationed here who are not going home for the holiday will get a Thanksgiving meal on Thanksgiving.