AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - Honor Flight Austin ambassador and 94-year-old World War II veteran, Marvin Kanter, died Thursday morning. The Navy gunner loved his country and was so stunned by his experience with Honor Flight Austin that he made it his mission to help other vets get on board.
“We're called the Greatest Generation and I think I can understand that. I'm glad that I'm part of it,” Kanter said in a video from March of 2013.
“He left the Navy in ‘46 I believe, and put his duffel bag away, didn't complain, went back to work and rebuilt America like the rest of these heroes did,” said Allen Bergeron, founder of Honor Flight Austin.
In that video, Kanter described some of the greatest moments he experienced while visiting the nation's capital with Honor Flight Austin. “When we arrived in Washington and stepped off the plane, I could not believe the ovation. The people in Washington are lined up, cheering, whistling, laughing, photographers all over, and it brought tears,” Kanter said.
Kanter was one of 50 veterans on the organizations second trip. He spent time at the World War II Memorial in October 2012. “We went to the different battles and I stopped where the Battle of Okinawa, and I thought about all my shipmates, those that returned and those that didn't,” said Kanter.
That trip had such a great impact on Kanter, it convinced him to get more involved.
“He felt that it was important for other World War II veterans to experience this trip of a lifetime, so he started helping us. He started recruiting veterans, he started doing outreach for us, and, ‘Alan I found another one,’ and it was a big deal for him and for us. He became an official ambassador and part of our family,” Bergeron said.
At 94 years young, Kanter was a poet, writer and UT Longhorn fan, but, like so many others from the Greatest Generation, his time was running out.
“Just a beautiful man inside and out… He celebrated his 94th birthday last month, the 14th, and he was doing well. That's how quick these heroes are leaving us,” said Bergeron. Thanks to Honor Flight Austin, Kanter left this world knowing he meant a great deal to the country he fought for 74 years ago.
“It was a world war and we wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them,” Bergeron said.
Kanter's service will be at Cook Walden Funeral Home on North Lamar Tuesday at 1pm.