Approximately 3,000 people showed up at the funeral on Wednesday afternoon to pay their respects to a Vietnam War veteran, who did not have any surviving family members.
Wayne Wilson, who died May 28 at age 67, served in the army from 1971 to 1977, according to his obituary.
When Drew Mikel, an intern at the Brown Funeral Home & Cremation Services who helped publicize Wilson’s funeral in the local paper, he and Wilson’s friends didn’t expect the notice to reach so many people.
Yet, a large crowd of people had come.
“I was just amazed when I pulled up in the hearse,”, Mikel told CNN “I was driving through a sea of people. I couldn’t believe that many people actually turned out.”
Some were locals, others had driven from Tennessee, Iowa, Florida, and Indiana to Niles, Michigan, to pay their respects, Mikel added.
Full military honors and the military salute were performed for Wilson at the ceremony, CNN reported.
Wilson’s was the biggest commemoration that Sergeant-at-Arms of American Legion Post 51 Richard Stuart, who is in charge of the color guard that performed at the ceremony, has ever done in 10 years. He said that every veteran deserves to be honored and have such a funeral.
“Mr. Wayne Wilson was a heroic soldier for our country, becoming wounded in the Vietnam War. Wayne was proud of his country and proud of his city. Every year, Wayne was the first person at Silverbrook Cemetery for the annual Memorial Day Parade,” Brown Funeral Home & Cremation Services said in the local paper.
Mr. Wayne Wilson, you will be missed!