Honoring Sullivan Brothers 75 years after death - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Honoring Sullivan Brothers 75 years after death

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

An eastern Iowa family who lost five brothers decades ago when a torpedo hit their ship are honoring their legacy. When the Five Sullivan Brothers were killed it didn't only affect the family, but the community and entire nation.

Today the Grout Museum District remembered the Sullivan Brothers, holding a commemoration ceremony for the 75th anniversary of their loss. Today's ceremony meant a lot to the Sullivan family, but it also meant a lot to our area veterans and the community.

"It's probably one of the most famous events in history centered right here in Waterloo, Iowa and some people who live here don't even realize that," said Marlys Messingham, Waterloo.

Messingham says she's been following the family's history for years and was grateful to be at the commemoration.

"I just think it's wonderful that the Grout has programs like this to commemorate things in local history and make people aware of how significant it was and we should be proud of it and honor them," said Messingham.

Rear Admiral Richard Brown, former commander of the USS The Sullivans, spoke at the event. He says when he was the commanding officer of the USS The Sulivans he used the brother's motto. 

"They also represented service to their family to their community and more importantly service to each other," said Admiral Brown. "Their motto is, 'we stick together' and that's the motto of the USS The Sullivans DDG68, so it really is about service."

Meanwhile, the Sullivan family also gathered to remember the five brothers.

"Our great grandmother said 'my boys did not die in vain' and so when we come to these events and we do these things we are doing it to continue on with her legacy," said Kelly Sullivan, Albert Sullivan's Granddaughter. "We don't want the boys to have died in vain."

Today meant a lot to the family.

"Just seeing the people gathered down stairs who come out on their own to celebrate this is really special...it means a lot," said John Sullivan, Albert Sullivan's grandson.

The Sullivan family also provided the Grout Museum with new items to add to the Sullivan section of the museum. Those include photos, letters and two purple hearts for Albert and Joseph. The museum is also updating their documentary on the Five Sullivan Brothers, which should now be available to watch.

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