A World War II Veteran of the D-Day invasion in France has been selected by Cranford’s VFW Post #335 to be the Grand Marshall for the upcoming 2017 Memorial Day Parade. Post Commander Jay Boxwell stated “Cranford resident and World War II US Army Veteran Peter Klein is this year’s Marshall. It is a great choice, as we have picked a true hero to lead us on this very important day”, Boxwell added.
Klein, originally born in France, came to America as a 1 year old and settled with his family in Elizabeth. He was drafted into the Army in April, 1943 as the war was raging in Europe. He had originally wanted to be a pilot but because of his lack of citizenship at the time, he was denied. As a result he was made an infantryman and medic. Determined to be a citizen, in November 1943 while serving his adopted country, Klein proudly became a naturalized US citizen. Within 7 months of that, he was tending to wounded and dying soldiers on Omaha Beach at Normandy during the great D-Day invasion.
His Army record reads like an unbelievably incredible tale of dedication to our country. Klein fought with the 5th Corp at Omaha Beach, Normandy France, in Belgium and Luxembourg, at the Battle of the Bulge and the end of the war found him fighting in famous Battle at Hurtgen, in the forests of Germany. He is truly deserving of our recognition this Memorial Day for his enduring, patriotic service to our country.
After the war Klein married his wife Theresa and eventually they moved to Cranford where they raised their two children Peter J. and Michael. His wife unfortunately passed in 2009. Klein spent his post-war career as a chief estimator for 38 years at Saxon Construction Company, retiring in the 1980’s.
“I am so proud to be part of this great day. During the war I found myself in some terrible situations that I really don’t like to talk about or even remember. But like all the other young men with me, we just did our job,” Klein said, showing a typically unassuming and modest attribute of the “Greatest Generation”.
“The Cranford VFW Post is truly proud of our member, Peter Klein, and we are so honored to have such a deserving and fitting veteran leading us on Memorial Day” concluded Commander Boxwell, “and it will be a great day for our town”.