Sherwin Callander, 94, needed the help of immigration officers after his passport application was rejected because his birth certificate said he was born in Canada.
Officials worked through the weekend to get him a passport so that he was able to fly out from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport earlier this week to fly to France for the first time since he took part in the Allied invasion in 1944.
Callander, who was in the Navy during the attack on Pearl Harbour and was a part of the D-Day invasion on the beaches of France, explained that his mother was an American citizen and prior to 1934 someone could not inherit citizenship through their mothers, only through their fathers. But in 1994 the immigration reform act retroactively changed that so he was in fact and American citizen.
Citizenship and immigration services officials heard of the issues and spent the weekend working to sort out the red tape and make his citizenship official. They hastily arranged a citizenship oath ceremony and then fast tracked a new passport.
‘It’s a real honour to help Mr. Callander. His selfless action for our country is something to be honoured,’ said Joseph Kernen of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
‘The longer you live the more you have to be thankful for. I’m just so proud and so thankful,’ said Callander as he got his paperwork.
His citizenship, however, wasn’t the only struggle Callander and his family faced to get him to Normandy. They also had to pay for the trip to France but after a television appearance enough money was raised for the air fare and accommodation.
‘I’m just going to try to enjoy everything, hug every girl I can see and go back on the beach and reminisce a little bit,’ he said.