OKLAHOMA CITY - Some of our country’s bravest heroes in Oklahoma are devastated by the theft of a popular parade trailer and now local Purple Heart recipients are begging to get it back.
“Anytime you’re violated like that, it just makes you mad,” said Boyd Barclay, a Oklahoma Vietnam War Veteran and Purple Heart recipient.
The trailer has carried hundreds of Oklahoma Purple Heart recipients through local parades spanning over 20 years. But this year may be the first without it.
“The operations manager from my office called and said, ‘What did you do with the Purple Heart trailer?’ And I said ‘nothing,’ and he said, ‘Well, we may have a problem,’” said the trailer’s owner, David Howell.
The trailer vanished without a trace. Howell said it stays locked up at his business near SE 15th and S Eastern, but someone managed to get through the gates and stole it.
“It hurts even deeper because it’s Purple Heart winners. If any veteran needs honored, it’s that group,” Howell said.
Barclay said he has ridden in the trailer more times than he can remember.
“The pride that we feel when people find out, they see who we are, they stand up and applaud as we go through. The veterans there, they salute us. We look forward to it every year,” Barclay said.
But he’s already fearing the worst.
“I would be willing to bet right now it’s totally dismantled and changed. It’s not what it was,” Barclay said. “Just zero respect for what it represents.”
The black trailer has had several updates over the years, including custom seating. Howell said it has a price tag of around $7,000, but to the men and women who sacrificed so much for this country, it’s priceless.
“Bring it back and no charges will be made. We’ll forgive. Forget all about it,” Barclay said.
Those who attend the Edmond 4th of July parade may recognize the trailer. The group said they’ll still be in this year’s parade but are worried about some of their veterans who are unable to walk the distance.