LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - An emotional scene Thursday as Vietnam veterans crowded around the Vietnam Memorial at Elmer Thomas Park.
About 100 Vietnam veterans and the widows of fallen veterans gathered to recognize "National Vietnam War Veteran's Day", which was Wednesday. The colors were presented, a proclamation from Governor Mary Fallin was read and a speech was given by the Command Chaplain at Fort Sill. Retired Sergeant Major Aaron E. Boone was one of the Vietnam vets on hand Thursday and said it truly was a special day.
"It means a whole lot. It also, just being with brothers, and a few sisters...it hits you here,” Boone said.
Boone said the event was a great way for all of our local veterans to stay in touch. But there was one veteran missing from the event, the man who most recently served as the president of the Lawton Vietnam Veterans chapter, Kerry Wren, who died Monday in a car wreck.
As the event carried on, those in attendance couldn't help but think about their fellow veteran and former president who worked so hard to make today's event happen.
"He'd be elated. Anytime Veterans get together, it's a good day for Kerry Wren,” said Retired Master Sergeant Jim Elliott.
Retired Sergeant Major Kerry Wren served in the Army for 22 years and earned several medals for his service in Vietnam. He ultimately retired in 1987 and settled down in Lawton. Those who knew Wren, including Elliott, who knew him for more than 40 years, say he was a truly caring person.
"He was all about giving. Especially with his fellow veterans, especially with his fellow Vietnam veterans. Kerry was a giver and asked nothing in return,” Elliott said.
Thursday, people congregated at the Vietnam memorial, talking, laughing and sharing stories with one another. Elliott says without Wren, none of that would have been possible.
"He was instrumental in getting the chapter started, he was instrumental in getting this wonderful monument they have here,” Elliott said.
Elliott said Wren worked for years to get our local Vietnam veterans chapter up and running and he knows because of that work, he will truly be missed.
"I know this whole community will miss him, not just the veteran community. Because a lot of people knew Kerry. On a personal level, I'll miss him very much, as my family will too,” Elliott said.
Elliott said he knows people in this Lawton community won't forget what Wren has done anytime soon.
"His work here is done but certainly the residuals of his work are here for a long, long time,” Elliott said.
Wren’s funeral will be Monday, April 3rd at 12:30 at Becker-Rabon Funeral Home Chapel. Following the service, he will be buried with full military honors at Fort Sill National Cemetery.