MUNISING, Mich. (WJMN) – Nearing the age of 96, Munising’s Edgar Gage is a World War II Navy veteran.
“After boot camp, I was at Camp Perry, Virginia,” said Edgar. “Then I head to Rhode Island and after a couple of months in Rhode Island we sailed to Hawaii. I was nine months in Hawaii and then we went to Saipan where I was to attend the Second Marine Division for the Invasion of Okinawa.”
Also in Munising resides another Navy veteran. 88-year-old Douglas Miron served in the Korean War.
“Went to Detroit to get a job and I wasn’t down there very long and a friend of mine called and said he was joining the Navy,” said Douglas. “I said, ‘I’m going with you.’ So I came home, came back up here, went to Marquette, signed all up. Went in the service. Did all four years. Most of my time in the Navy, over three years was sea duty. And most of that was over in Korea, the Korean War was going on then and we were operating out of Yokosuka, Japan.”
Both of them have fond memories of their time in the Navy.
“Normally, it was not a dangerous situation,” said Edgar. “I worked in the motor pool. I worked week days and the week nights. When I worked nights, I had all morning to run around exploring.”
“I enjoyed every minute of the Navy,” said Douglas. “I loved the Navy. Actually, I was going to stay in the Navy but my wife said no, we’re going home.”
So Douglas came back to Michigan to work with the Ford Motor Company but he wanted to go back to real home.
“So Detroit wasn’t me, wasn’t for us,” said Douglas. “I guess I was just a Yooper, ya know.”
Douglas and his wife built their life in Munising. He continued serving his community in law enforcement and after 40 years, retired as chief of police in Munising and served as an elected official for 27 years on the Alger County Road Commission.
“Munising has always been important to me,” said Douglas. “Munising, Alger County, right. Community changing from when I was the police chief for instance. Changing a lot. We’ve become probably the biggest tourist attraction in Upper Michigan.”
Edgar became part of the Munising community in 1948
“Well I worked eight years at Atlas Plywood,” said Edgar. “I worked at the Munising Coal Company for eight or nine years and then I went into my own heating business and when I had problems with my back, I went to work a part-time job with the forest service. I was there for almost 23 years.”
And with his late wife of over 70 years, the Gage family made Munising their home.
“My mom and dad were from that Depression-Era generation so they were really tough people and they lived through some tough times but they always made do with that they had,” said Teri Gage, Edgar’s daughter. “We didn’t have a lot of money, but we never went hungry, we always had clean clothes to wear. They did what they had to do to provide for their family. So a lot of times, it’s the hunting and the fishing and the trapping, it wasn’t a hobby, it was substances, ya know. They fed their family that way with the trapping, he sold the furs for income and so it’s a very different lifestyle than what most people experience today.”
By serving their country and community, Edgar and Douglas were shown appreciation this Independence Day with the honor of being the grand marshals in Munising’s Fourth of July Parade.
“Really pleased that he’s being honored this way,” said Teri. “He served his country in World War II. There’s not a lot of World War II veterans still alive. He’s not a guy who likes a lot to be in the spotlight. He doesn’t like that attention, he’s more of a behind the scenes kind of guy and i’m really pleased that he’s being recognized.”
“For 40 years, I led the parade with a police car and now I’m coming back and riding right behind the police car as a grand marshal so that’s a big circle, I guess,” said Douglas.