POSTED: Monday, November 11, 2013 - 6:23pm
UPDATED: Monday, November 11, 2013 - 7:02pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — Hundreds of people gathered at the Old State Capitol building today show their gratitude to our veterans...among them, a marine who attends the U.S.S. Kidd Ceremony each year without fail.
For Daniel Higgins, the "Marines' Hymn" is more than just a song to him.
"It brings tears to my eyes. I'm even getting choked up right now just talking about because this is very dear to me," Higgins said.
When Higgins graduated high school in the mid-1960s, he knew he wanted to serve his country.
"I was a teen from a broken home. I wasn't listening to my mother, and I wasn't listening to my father, but I listened to the Marine Corps. They straightened me out," Higgins said. "I learned a wealth of knowledge and the discipline that it taught me was just beyond words."
Every year on Veterans Day he puts on his uniform, not just for himself, but for all of the men and women who risk their lives every day.
"Today's a day where I honor all my fallen brothers," Higgins said. "So many people that I knew didn't come back and can't represent the Marine Corps in their uniforms or in any way, and seeing the veterans here today really made me appreciate the effort that the Armed Forces do to keep this country safe."
Higgins served two tours of duty in Vietnam in his decade as a Marine, but Higgins said "once a Marine, always a Marine."
"I'm 65 years old, but inside I'm just an 18-year-old private that just graduated boot camp," Higgins said. "I'm a proud American. I'm a proud Marine, and it's never changed."
I'd like to thank Sergeant Higgins and all of our veterans. Your service to our country is truly appreciated.