WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Long time friends and family gathered at Andrews Mortuary Wednesday to pay tribute to Sergeant 1st Class Edward Kramer's sacrifice.
The 39-year-old sergeant was one of four National Guard members killed by a roadside bomb last week in Baghdad, Iraq.
"He loved his little brother, he loved serving his community and he loved being in the guard serving his country," said Michael Bannon, a longtime friend.
"Anytime you lose anyone in the guard it's a tragedy," said Major Matt Handley, NC National Guard spokesman. "The National Guard is a tight-knit community of 12,000 soliders and airmen; to lose four at once it's just devastating."
Kramer was also part of another brotherhood in the Port City as a long-time firefighter with the Wilmington Fire Department and was recently transferred to Sunny Point Fire Rescue.
"I didn't realize that he was involved in the fire department but it's awesome to see he's made a tremendous impact in the local community," said Major Sergeant Joe Vickers, who served alongside Kramer.
Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said he was moved to see so many people come out and show their respect and gratitude for what Kramer and his fellow soldiers sacrificed.
"It's very emotional, very touching and I wanted to let them know how much that means to us and our community and to thank them for their public service," said Saffo.
Friends and members of the public wishing to honor Sergeant 1st Class Kramer are asked to line the side of the roads Thursday morning as the funeral procession makes its way to the Wilmington National Cemetery.