Veterans honored with free trip to Washington D.C.

Members of the Patriot Guard Riders were on hand at Huntsville International Airport to see of the veterans heading to Washington D.C.
Members of the Patriot Guard Riders were on hand at Huntsville International Airport to see of the veterans heading to Washington D.C.

Forever Young Senior Veterans sponsored a group of four Alabama veterans from both the Vietnam War and World War II for a four-day trip to Washington D.C.

Posted: Oct 19, 2018 12:39 PM
Updated: Oct 19, 2018 6:29 PM

A group of Tennessee Valley veterans are being recognized for their service and sacrifice with a free flight to the nation's capital. 

Forever Young Senior Veterans sponsored a group of four Alabama veterans from both the Vietnam War and World War II for a four-day trip to Washington D.C. They will be joined by a few dozen other veterans from Tennessee.

"When you get a group of veterans together, it's like brotherhood again," a veteran, Sherwin Callander said on Wednesday.

Callander started forging that brotherhood more than 70 years ago when he enlisted in the Navy back in 1939.

The 98-year-old World War II veteran fought during the Battle of Normandy on D-Day and was also stationed at Pearl Harbor during the war. He was one day's journey away from being there during the bombing.

"The next day we pulled in, and I had to help clean up the mess and bury some of the dead and everything. That was an awful sight," Callander said.

On Friday, he and the other veterans took off for Washington D.C. on a free trip as a way to thank them for their sacrifice. 

"That's really what we fought for, is D.C. and our country and a lot of us have never seen it all," Callendar said.

Callendar's granddaughter, Elaine Oakes, said with the 75th anniversary of D-Day coming up next year, it's especially important to bring World War II veterans on trips like these.

"There's a big push right now to honor them before we lose them," Oakes said.

Vietnam veteran, Tom McKinney, said beyond visiting the Vietnam memorial and searching for the names of some of his fallen brothers, spending time with the Greatest Generation is what he's most excited about.

"I want to learn from them, I want to hear their stories, I want to develop that camaraderie with those people while we have them," McKinney said.

To date, Forever Young Senior Veterans has sponsored similar trips for more than 2,200 veterans in Tennessee and Alabama. This group of veterans will return to the Tennessee Valley on Wednesday.

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