More than 200 people gathered at the Wilmington Fire Department headquarters Sunday night to honor the lives of four fallen North Carolina soldiers; one of them, from right here in Wilmington. Ed Kramer served as a firefighter and as a National Guardsmen. Friends and family held a walk in honor of his service. “It still doesn't feel real to a lot of people, but I know it is going to get real in the next couple of days," said friend Mike Bannon. Many have come to the realization that family member, friend and co-worker Ed Kramer is gone. Sgt. First Class Kramer died in Iraq last Monday after an IED exploded near his HUMVEE. The explosion killed him and three others, Roger Adams, Robert Bittiker, and Juan Baldeosingh. As a civilian, Kramer served as a Wilmington firefighter for nine years before his transfer to the Sunny Point Fire Department. His service to his community and country is why many gathered to walk in his memory. Guided by a banner recognizing all four fallen soldiers, the walk began from Wilmington Fire Department headquarters to the National Guard Memorial by the Cape Fear River. Once the walk ended, an outpouring of emotions began. Friend Eddie Williams said, "He was a hero in the truest sense of the word. He was a hero to his wife, he was a hero to his children and he was a hero to his friends that loved him a great deal." Families, who met for the first time, comforted one another. Rebecca Baldeosingh said she finds comfort in knowing her husband died serving his country. "He knew when he was going that this could be the sacrifice, but he was willing to take it because he loved his country that much." Step Up for Soldiers organized the memorial walk. Ed Kramer will be laid to rest in the Wilmington National Cemetery.
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