HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – We have lost another American hero. Gone but not forgotten. Huntsville is losing one of its most beloved World War II veterans. Sherwin Callander died at the Floyd E. Tutt Fann State Veterans Home.
Moving to Huntsville 12 years ago, the Navy veteran was a welcome site at events honoring those who proudly served our country during WWII. He once told us, “We were coming back from Wake Island and the Japanese aircraft carrier passed us. They didn’t want to spoil the surprise, so they let us go. It was the day before his ship arrived at Pearl Harbor. “The worst mess I have ever seen in my life,” he recalls, “There were still bodies in the water. I had to help get them out.
He saw with his own eyes, war is hell. Callander volunteered for amphibious training after this horrific event. “Had to do the invasion of North Africa, Italy and D-Day Normandy on Utah Beach,” Callander recalled. His advice to everyone, never forget. “May they remember Pearl Harbor from now on and may it never happen again,” he told us.
In 2014, he first met fellow veteran Vernon Wilder Jr at a heroes tribute at Discovery Middle School. They were both moved to tears during the ceremony. Wilder was overwhelmed with emotion. Callander came to his aid, just as he had done for his brothers in the war.
Sherwin Callander loved his time serving our nation. Talking about enlisting in the navy, he said, “Dude they’re trying to introduce us, he says you’ll get a girl in every port, I said sign up.” He smiled. He wanted to serve in another conflict. “When Desert Storm started, I went and tried to volunteer, and they wouldn’t take me,” he told us, “I got mad at them, and they wouldn’t. still didn’t want to take me.”
The stories he shared will live on. “Children need to know what the military has been through and how many have been killed,” he told us in an interview, “They’re only three or four years older than those kids were speaking. .”
And he reminded us not to forget those who serve and fight for freedom. “Whenever you see one, walk towards it. It will make their chest puff out a bit when you shake their hand and thank them,” he said. We thank you for your service. Sherwin Callander was 102 years old.
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