Marty Kramer enlisted in the Marine Corps during World War II in 1944 at just 17 years old. His service from when he was a teenager, nearly 80 years ago, will be recognized during the Port Washington Memorial Day Parade where he will lead as the grand marshal.
“I was very patriotic and was very anxious to go in and help win the war,” Kramer said.
The Port Washington Memorial Day hosted by the Port Washington American Legion Post No. 509 will be held on May 29 at 10 a.m. The parade starts on Campus Drive and proceeds down Port Washington Boulevard and Main Street to the Sousa Memorial Bandshell.
Douglas Weston, commander of Post 509, said the parade will include various local police departments, fire departments and the veterans – which he said is the most important part to him.
A Memorial Day Commemorative Service will be held at the Bandshell at the conclusion of the parade.
Kramer, a Manhasset resident, said he is honored at being appointed as grand marshal of the parade and is looking forward to participating with his fellow veterans.
Kramer grew up on the South Shore of Long Island and attended prep school in Pennsylvania.
Kramer was deployed to the South Pacific, where he was stationed in Guam. He said that was where he was when the atomic bomb hit Hiroshima.
He said that while he was eager to assist in the war efforts and was glad to serve, it was a difficult time for him.
Despite his young age, he said he was big and strong, likely the toughest in his division. He was an enlisted gunman and a proud soldier who just did his job fighting in the war.
He said he had the usual experiences of war, not specifying what those were, but he said they all turned out fine in the end.
Kramer was discharged in 1946 when he was wounded while in Guam.
“I was very happy to serve my country,” Kramer said. “But after the war, I was happy to get out, too.”
Upon returning home from the war, Kramer was discharged to California where he stayed to attend school at the University of California – Los Angeles.
After graduating from college, Kramer worked in his family business, Trimfit manufacturing hosiery in North Carolina. He stayed in the business for 60 years and moved up the ranks to become chairman and president of the company.
Kramer has been married for 67 years to Margot Kramer, whom he met while he lived in California, and they had four children. He and his wife have lived in Manhasset for 23 years.
Kramer invited everyone in the community to attend the parade and celebrate all the veterans and their service.
“I served with a lot of good, interesting people from all walks of life, from all over the country, and we had a lot of good times together,” Kramer said. “A lot of bad times and a lot of good times, so we take the good with the bad.”
Weston said the memorial parade is an important event for the community to honor veterans like Kramer.
“Everybody raised their right hand and said ‘We promise,’ and we did for different reasons and different times,” Weston said. “ And, most importantly, to honor those that have gone before us and aren’t here anymore.”