PERRY, Iowa -- A Veterans Day ceremony in Perry on Friday honored veterans, as well as a local family who paid a very dear price: losing three members in the line of duty.
Clabe and Lenora Wilson lived on an acreage south of Perry. They had seven kids, and five of their sons served in the military. Of those five, three lost their lives.
One of the sons was Dale R. Wilson, who was reported missing in action on November 27th, 1943 at 24 years old. Junior was the second of the Wilson brothers to lose his life; the 20-year-old was killed flying in formation training in Texas. Danny was killed in action on February 19, 1945 as his plane crashed over Schwangerg, Austria.
Dale's twin sister, 96-year-old Darlene Wilson Scar, said Friday's ceremony honoring her family brought back a flood of memories of her late brothers. “How they talked, and how they looked,” said Scar.
She also has a huge heart for what her mom went through during the difficult times.
“Never complained, never complained, but she went through the worst,” said Scar. “For a mother to lose a child, and then a child, and then another child, it’s almost too much to take, but she took it. She was brave. If anyone was patriotic, our little mom was.”
The day also featured a panel discussion of what it was like to be away from home serving. Veterans were asked about how going into the military changed them.
“I had no discipline, and it didn’t take me very long to learn if I kept my mouth shut and stayed in the back, I wouldn't be trying to be pushing New Jersey down to Florida,” said Ron Leber, a local veteran. ”I was constantly doing push-ups!”
The former soldiers were asked if they kept mail correspondence with loved ones at home.
“Most of that stuff I never kept because being in the military career, every two years I moved, I couldn’t carry these things all the time,” said Veteran Bill Robertson.
“Still wrote letters back and forth, and my wife still has every single letter that we wrote back and forth to each other,” said Travis Murphy, who served in Afghanistan.
“My basic training yearbook and my Korea service yearbook, while I was over there, my mother kept them. She’s since passed, and now I have them,” said Leber.
The men were also asked about friends they made while serving.
“It starts the minute you get of that bus in basic, you meet your brothers and you become friends for life,” said Ken Scar, grandson of Darlene Wilson Scar. “These days with social media, it's easy to stay in touch.”