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Alterizio, Callander to marshal MSF parade

Philip and Maria Alterizio will celebrate their 68th wedding anniversary on Oct. 4, the day following the Madison Street Festival. (CONTRIBUTED)
Philip and Maria Alterizio will celebrate their 68th wedding anniversary on Oct. 4, the day following the Madison Street Festival. (CONTRIBUTED)
Sherwin Callander was stationed at Wake Island when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor during World War II. (CONTRIBUTED)
Sherwin Callander was stationed at Wake Island when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor during World War II. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – World War II veterans Philip Alterizio and Sherwin Callander will serve as grand marshals of the 2015 Madison Street Festival Parade.

“When the Madison Street Festival committee members were deciding who we would like to honor as grand marshal this year, the committee realized this is the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II,” MSF President Sharon Holcombe said.

“Mr. Alterizio and Mr. Callander are both residents of Madison that represent this wonderful generation of veterans. We are proud to have this opportunity to honor and thank them for their service to our country,” Holcombe said.

In 1939 at 17 years old, Alterizio was eligible to join the National Guard. “On Sept. 16, 1940, (the country) mustered the National Guard into federal service,” Alterizio said.

Alterizio’s unit was stationed in Italy when allied forces landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944 … D-Day. Leaving Italy, his unit landed at St. Maxine and advanced throughout France’s Alsace region. “The heaviest fighting in southern France was at St. Die and Selestat,” Alterizio said.

In 2011 at an Atlanta ceremony, the country of France bestowed the Legion of Honor award to Alterizio and 12 other World War II veterans from Alabama and Georgia. Their honor recognizes service that ushered in France’s freedom.

Callander worked in a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp in California when he was 15 years old. “I made $30 a month — $25 went home,” he said.

Military recruiters visited the camp. “The Navy said, ‘We have a girl in every port.’ That’s what I went for,” Callander said about enlisting in 1939.

In December 1941, Callander was stationed at Wake Island when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Callander and his shipmates sailed to Hawaii for the recovery effort.

In June 2014, Callander and fellow World War II veterans visited Normandy. “All of the people (in France) respected us so much. That was an awesome trip,” Callander said.

The MSF Parade opens the festivities at 9 a.m. on Oct. 3.

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