(WHNT) – A 94-year-old Madison man is in Normandy for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. Sherwin Callandar was among the servicemen who landed on Utah Beach on June 6, 1944.
He was also stationed at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked. Callandar went on to serve in Africa and Italy, as well as France. However, he had not returned to Normandy since World War II.
Callandar is one of only an estimated 350 American veterans to attend the 70th anniversary commemoration in Normandy. Getting there wasn’t easy, though. Born to an American mother in Canada in 1920, his family moved to the U.S. when Callandar was three. While he had a birth certificate, he did not have the necessary documents to receive a passport.
Callandar’s granddaughter contacted Congressman Mo Brooks’ office, which helped the family secure the veteran’s passport just hours before his flight was scheduled to leave Atlanta.
Community support helped Callandar clear another hurdle – the cost of the flight. According to his family, the French government initially offered to cover transportation costs for invited veterans but later backed out of the offer.
Callandar’s granddaughter set up a donations page through a crowdfunding website. They hoped to raise $5,000 but, through the generosity of the community, they were able to raise more than twice that.
To follow along with Callandar’s journey in France, click here.