Pearl Harbor Survivor Wetzel Sanders passes away


CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — A soldier who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor has passed away. Wetzel “Sundown” Sanders died on Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019. He was a native of Midkiff, WV in Lincoln County.

“West Virginia has lost a true American hero,” said Gov. Jim Justice (R-WV). “Wetzel ‘Sundown’ Sanders was a shining example of the traits that make our state so great. His selflessness and sense of duty called him to defend our freedoms in World War II. His incredible courage saw him through when his camp in Pearl Harbor was attacked on Dec. 7, 1941.”

Sanders received a Purple Heart for his service in 2017, more than 75-years after he was injured. He was in the Army serving on the island of Oahu when the Japanese attacked.

“The story of ‘Sundown’ Sanders – a man who fought hard for the rights we treasure as West Virginians and as Americans – is one that will never be forgotten. His commitment to our country is one we should admire.

“Sanders was part of our nation’s greatest generation and he will forever be known as a West Virginia legend,” added Gov. Justice. “There will never be another of his kind again. Cathy and I ask that all West Virginians join us in prayer for his family during this time of mourning.”

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin issued the following statement regarding the death of Wetzel Sanders:

“Gayle and I were saddened to hear of the passing of Wetzel “Sundown” Sanders, an American hero and an inspiration to all West Virginians. I was honored to be able tohelp Wetzel receive his well-deserved and hard earned Purple Heart recognition for his heroic service at Pearl Harbor before he passed. We join all West Virginians sending their prayers for his family during this difficult time.”

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)

Mr. Sanders was 96-years old. A visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 21 at the McGhee-Handley Funeral Home in West Hamlin. Funeral services are planned for Thursday, Aug. 22 at 2 p.m. at the funeral home. A visitation will be held one hour before the funeral. He will be buried in the Dial Cemetery in Branchland, WV.


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