Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sullivan Brothers

The Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum is opening this weekend. Looks good--artifacts and exhibits from every war fought by Iowans. Video at the link. I'll have to stop by over the holidays, weather permitting.

The museum is named for the Sullivan Brothers, killed in action on the USS Juneau in November 1942. They joined the Navy together after a friend was killed at Pearl Harbor and the five of them insisted on serving together. The mental image of George spending three days searching for his brothers is haunting.

The Grout Museum had a permanent exhibit on the Sullivans when I lived in the area, complete with their parents' flag with five gold stars and letters that arrived after the Juneau was sunk. The docent reassured me I was not the first visitor to cry.

Within a year, a destroyer was renamed the USS The Sullivans; it was retired in 1965. A second destroyer with the name was launched in 1995 and still serves with the brothers' motto "We stick together."

(And yet, the Sullivan Brothers never came up in my Iowa history class in fifth grade, which disturbs me now.)

The first destroyer is parked in Buffalo. I took these photos in 2003, sadly out of season for the tour.

USS The Sullivans USS The Sullivans


CGHill said...

Tulsa alt-rock band Caroline's Spine put out a scary little number in '97 simply called "Sullivan".

"It's not hard to reach back to the days after the attack on Pearl,
and overnight my buddies turned into men running out of time for games and girls.

"The Sullivan boys were not overlooked, Uncle Sam called them each by name.
The very next day they left on a mystery train."

buzz said...

Someone else has heard of Caroline's Spine!

HeatherRadish said...

I'll have to check them out--thanks, CGHill!