HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – We’ve lost another American hero. Gone, but not forgotten. Huntsville loses one of its most cherished World War II veterans. Sherwin Callander died at the Floyd E. Tutt Fann State Veterans Home.
He moved to Huntsville 12 years ago, The Navy veteran was a welcomed site at events honoring those who proudly served our country during World War II. 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.” That was the day before his ship pulled into Pearl Harbor. “The worst mess I’ve ever seen in my life,” he recalled, “There were still some bodies in the water. I had to help get them out.”
He saw firsthand, war is hell. Callander volunteered for amphibious training after that horrific event. “Had to make the invasion of north Africa, Italy, and D-Day at Normandy on Utah Beach,” Callander remembered. His advice to everyone, never forget.“That they remember Pearl Harbor from now on and never, never let it happen again,” he told us.
In 2014, he met another veteran, Vernon Wilder Jr for the first time during a tribute to heroes at Discovery Middle School. They were both moved to tears during the ceremony. Wilder was overcome with emotion. Callander came to his rescue, just like he had done for his brothers in war.
Sherwin Callander cherished his time serving our nation. Talking about his enlistment in the Navy, he said, “Man, they’re trying to introduce us, he says you’ll have a girl in every port, I said sign me up.” He smiled. He wanted to serve during 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 still wouldn’t take me.”
The stories he shared will live on. “The kids need to know what the service men went through and how many were killed,” he told us during an interview, “They’re only three or four years older than these kids were talking to.”
And he reminded us to not forget those who serve and fight for freedom. “Whenever you see one, walk up to him. It’ll make their chest swell out a little bit when you shake their hand and thank them,” he said. We thank you for your service. Sherwin Callander was 102.
Hampton Cove Funeral Home has more information on Mr. Callander’s obituary and services on its website. Just click on the link. A celebration of his life will be held Saturday, August 20th at Hope Church in Madison. Visitation will begin at 2 p.m. with a service following at 3 p.m.
And in lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made in his memory to