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William J Callahan


U. S. Marine Corps


04/28/2007, AR RAMADI, IRAQ

The Sons of the American Legion of Hanson, MA erected a flag at the home of William’s mother, a tribute to the first person from Hanson killed in Iraq. John Gurry, the post commander explained, ‘‘Our organization is about doing things for others, and we just wish we could do more for someone who gave the ultimate sacrifice.’’

Callahan enlisted in the active Marines after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Brian Crowley, a family friend explained: “You knew Bill was on his way (even as a teenager). He had all the strength of his mother, as far as believing in God, doing the right thing. He had his own barometer of what was right and wrong, and it was global.”

A fellow Marine Sergeant Rory Thornton described Callahan this way: “In the most miserable times and conditions, you would look at him and he would have this big, goofy smile and that always helped you get through it. “He was a really good friend, a really good Marine and we miss him dearly.”

“He was the kind of guy that had no enemies. He was a towering guy with a magnetic personality. No one who ever met Billy disliked him,” said Sergeant Justin Cuellar, who served with Callahan.

Daniel J. Callahan just 28 days old was cradled in the arms of his mother during the funeral Mass. Callahan had heard his baby, the newborn’s tiny voice carried by 21st-century technology to the Iraqi desert 6,000 miles away. In her eulogy, Mary Ellen Callahan recalled her son’s awestruck reaction: ” ‘I never heard anything more beautiful in my whole life until . . . I heard him cry.’ “

Callahan never met his child. She added: William was a devoted husband to Amy, his “soul mate” of a decade; a son wise beyond his years; a loving brother to his sister; and the glue that held the small family together.


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