Gov. Justice issues statement on death of Pearl Harbor survivor Wetzel "Sundown" Sanders


​CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice released the following statement today after the passing of Pearl Harbor survivor and West Virginia native, Wetzel Sanders.

"West Virginia has lost a true American hero. 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 December 7, 1941.

"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 all admire.

"Sanders was part of our nation's greatest generation and he will forever be known as a West Virginia legend. 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.”
Sanders was a Lincoln County native who served in the Navy in World War II. He received a Purple Heart for his service in 2017. Sanders passed away over the weekend, he was 96 years old. 

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Jordan Damron,


Office of the Governor
State Capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E
Charleston, WV 25305

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304.558.2000 or 1.888.438.2731

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