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The Sullivans…”Sticking together” in the Agony of War

 

On board USS Juneau (CL-52) at the time of her commissioning ceremonies at the New York Navy Yard, 14 February 1942.

On board USS Juneau (CL-52)  New York Navy Yard, 1942.

 

Two ships have been named after the Sullivan brothers because of the terrible loss of all five brothers who joined up together to fight in World War II :  (Sullivans (DD 537), commissioned in 1943 and the USS The Sullivans (DDG-68) was commissioned in September 1993.)

The brothers are shown in the picture at left: Joseph, Francis, Albert, Madison and George Sullivan.    All men from Waterloo, Iowa were serving on the same ship that went down  following the 13 November 1942 Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.

It was later learned, through survivors’ accounts, that four of the brothers died in the initial explosion. The fifth, George Thomas, despite being wounded the night before, made it onto a raft where he survived for five days before succumbing either to wounds and exhaustion or a shark attack.

The brothers received the Purple Heart Medal posthumously and were entitled to the American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with four engagement stars and the World War II Victory Medal. They had also earned the Good Conduct Medal.

One can only imagine the grief felt by their family members.   Their parents were Mr. Thomas F. Sullivan and Mrs. Alleta Sullivan.  Mr. Sullivan was a brakeman on the Illinois Central Railroad. They were your typical Irish Catholic family.  Their family motto was “We stick together” .  That was what made them ask permission to serve together on the doomed ship. 
 
The brothers had one sister, Genevieve Sullivan who was close to her brothers.

The last of the Sullivan children, Genevieve Sullivan joins the Waves in 1943.

The last of the Sullivan children, Genevieve Sullivan joins the Waves in 1943.

Albert Leo Sullivan’s wife, Katherine Mary Sullivan had a son named James Thomas, who was  twenty-two months old at the time of his father’s death. James Sullivan, later joined the Navy and served on the ship named for his father and uncles.   His daughter is shown in the picture below.

 

 Kelly Sullivan Loughren is the granddaughter of Albert Leo Sullivan, the youngest of the five Sullivan brothers who lost their lives together aboard USS Juneau during World War II.  She is a teacher.

Kelly Sullivan Loughren is the granddaughter of Albert Leo Sullivan, the youngest of the five Sullivan brothers who lost their lives together aboard USS Juneau during World War II. She is a teacher.

Following the loss of their sons, Thomas and Alleta  toured the United States. They spoke in plants, ship yards, and public events to help support the war effort. Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered a Ship to be named “The Sullivans” and in 4, April 1943, The Fletcher Class Destroyer, USS The Sullivans launched with Alleta attending the event.

USS The Sullivans DD-537)

USS The Sullivans DD-537

USS The Sullivans DDG-68

USS The Sullivans DDG-68

Directed by Lloyd Bacon Produced bySam Jaffe Robert Kane

Directed by Lloyd Bacon
Produced by Sam Jaffe
Robert Kane

A movie was made of the story of these brave men and the grief, dedication and sacrifice of this Irish family.  Five head stones are placed in their memory at Arlington National Cemetery.

 

Guidelines in part from the Navy Personnel:

” …In the Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin for July, 1942, it was stated that the Bureau considered it to be in the interest of their families that brothers not be put on the same ships in wartime, and added that “in view of the above, commanding officers will not forward requests for brothers to serve in the same ship or station.” Other than the foregoing announcements, no policies were put forth on the subject. The question of the advisability of coercive action to force the separation of brothers was considered, especially after the death of the five Sullivan brothers as a result of the sinking of the U.S.S. Juneau on 13 November 1942. However, no such action was taken.

On 15 November 1944 Bureau Circular Letter 345-44 was issued. It stated that in case a family had lost two or more sons in the armed forces and had only one surviving son, consideration would be given to application either by the family or the surviving son for the latter’s retention in the United States, unless he was engaged in non-hazardous duties overseas. On 14 April 1945 Bureau Circular Letter 107-45 broadened the rule to provide that if two or more members of the family had been lost consideration would be given to the return to the United States of all remaining members of the family….”

 

A VIDEO TRIBUTE TO THE FIVE SULLIVANS

Rescue Dogs of 9-11

9-11 Rescue DogsWe know that many people put their lives at risk to go into the smoking pieces of debris  at Ground Zero on 9-11.  Many of these first responders died and later many others became ill.   We also know that there were a number of rescue dogs that helped find remains.  We honor these brave men and women as well as the canines who helped on that terrible day.

Resting from a long day!

Resting from a long day!

Resting from a long day!

9-11 Rescue Dogs2

9-11 Rescue Dogs39-11 Rescue Dogs6

 

At the time this video was made, Abby was the last living Rescue Dog from the training center.  There is, however , another dog, Bretagne  is the longest living rescue dog from 9-11.    In the pictures above are search dogs that have passed away.  We owe them great honor and gratitude.

Bretagne the golden retriever who is now 15 years old and the longest surviving rescue dog today. (2014) shown in this picture with her handler.

Bretagne shown on 9-11 is 15 years old in 2014

Bretagne shown on 9-11 is 15 years old in 2014

 

     SEE VIDEO OF ABBY  with her handler  

 

A Prayer on 9-11 and the Aftermath

Today I would like to share a prayer from 2008 where the Twin Towers stood in New York City.

After reading the prayer, scroll down below to see what the people of New York have accomplished in the past years.   Thanks to Yahoo News photographer Gordon Donovan who has taken many memorable images from photographs of 9-11 and found the exact spots today, we are able to see what the American people can do after such a tragedy.

 

Trinity Church Cemetery 9-11

Trinity Church Cemetery 9-11

 

 

Trinity Church cemetery today

Trinity Church cemetery today

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“O God of love, compassion, and healing,
look on us, people of many different faiths
and traditions,
who gather today at this site,
the scene of incredible violence and pain.
We ask you in your goodness
to give eternal light and peace
to all who died here
the heroic first-responders:
our fire fighters, police officers,
emergency service workers, and
Port Authority personnel,
along with all the innocent men and women
who were victims of this tragedy
simply because their work or service
brought them here on September 11, 2001.

We ask you, in your compassion
to bring healing to those
who, because of their presence here that day,
suffer from injuries and illness.
Heal, too, the pain of still-grieving families
and all who lost loved ones in this tragedy.
Give them strength to continue their lives
with courage and hope.

We are mindful as well
of those who suffered death, injury, and loss
on the same day at the Pentagon and in
Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Our hearts are one with theirs
as our prayer embraces their pain and suffering.

God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world:
peace in the hearts of all men and women
and peace among the nations of the earth.
Turn to your way of love
those whose hearts and minds
are consumed with hatred.
God of understanding,
overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy,
we seek your light and guidance
as we confront such terrible events.
Grant that those whose lives were spared
may live so that the lives lost here
may not have been lost in vain.

Comfort and console us,
strengthen us in hope,
and give us the wisdom and courage
to work tirelessly for a world
where true peace and love reign
among nations and in the hearts of all. “

Pope Benedict XI–Prayer at Ground Zero
New York, 20 April 2008

Before and After Pictures of 9-11 and today 

TWIN TOWERS REPLACED TODAY BY ONE WORLD TRADE CENTER AND MEMORIAL

TWIN TOWERS REPLACED TODAY BY ONE WORLD TRADE CENTER AND MEMORIAL

TWIN TOWER 9-11

TWIN TOWER 9-11

A Lesson from History on DETERMINATION of the Free World!

AMERICANS AND THOSE WHO HONOR THE MEMORY OF THOSE WHO DIED ON 9-11 FROM COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD.

DON’T FORGET TO FLY YOUR FLAG THIS THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 11   

________________________

Who were the Doolittle Raiders?   Many young people today will not be able to tell you.

Take a good look at these men. This was their last reunion picture taken as all are now in their 90’s.

As of 2014, the remaining four Doolittle Raiders

As of 2013, the remaining four Doolittle Raiders

Here is their story of courage and determination.   What we want to remember about these men from World War II is that the Doolittle Raiders sent a message from the United States and the Free World  to its enemies:

We will fight.  No matter what it takes, we will win. 

 

DURING THE WAR

It was December 7, 1941.  Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in a sneak attack. It took 132 days of planning since that attack, but on  April 18, 1942 the Doolittle raid took place.  There were 80 Raiders when they carried out one of the most courageous and heart-stirring military operations in this nation’s history. Of the 80 Raiders, 62 survived the war.  They were celebrated as national heroes, models of bravery.

Raiders as young men

Raiders as young men

The 16 five-man crews, under the command of Lt. Col. James Doolittle, who himself flew the lead plane off the USS Hornet, knew that they would not be able to return to the carrier.  They would have to hit Japan and then hope to make it to China for a safe landing.

 

After Japan’s  attack on Pearl Harbor, with the United States reeling and wounded, something dramatic was needed to turn the war effort around.

Even though there were no friendly airfields close enough to Japan for the United States to launch a retaliation, a daring plan was devised.  Sixteen B-25s were modified so that they could take off from the deck of an aircraft carrier.  This had never been tried — sending such big, heavy bombers from a carrier.On USSrnet april 1942

 

 

But on the day of the raid, the Japanese military caught wind of the plan.  The Raiders were told that they would have to take off from farther out in the Pacific Ocean than they had counted on.  They were told that because of this they would not have enough fuel to make it to safety. The men went anyway.

planes of Raiders

THE RESULTS OF THE RAID

They bombed Tokyo, and then flew as far as they could.  Four planes crash-landed; 11 more crews bailed out, and three of the Raiders died. Eight more were captured; three were executed.  Another died of starvation in a Japanese prison camp.  One crew made it to Russia, where they were imprisoned.

Captured by Jananese AFTER WWII

Beginning in 1946, the surviving Raiders have held a reunion each April, to commemorate the mission.  The reunion is in a different city each year. In 1959, the city of Tucson, Arizona, as a gesture of respect and gratitude, presented the Doolittle Raiders with a set of 80 silver goblets.  Each goblet was engraved with the name of a Raider.              1946 Reunion of Raiders

Raider in front of plane

Every year, a wooden display case bearing all 80 goblets is transported to the reunion city.  Each time a Raider passes away, his goblet is turned upside down in the case at the next reunion, as his old friends bear solemn witness.  In the wooden case is a bottle of 1896 Hennessy Very Special cognac which was the year  Jimmy Doolittle was born.

There has always been a reunion plan.  When there are only two surviving Raiders, they would open the bottle, last drink from it, and toast their comrades who preceded them in death.Gobblets turned upside down as Raiders pass away

As 2013 began, there were five living Raiders; then, in February, Tom Griffin passed away at age 96.  Bailing out of his plane over a mountainous Chinese forest after the Tokyo raid, he became ill with malaria, and almost died.  When he recovered, he was sent to Europe to fly more combat missions.  He was shot down, captured, and spent 22 months in a German prisoner of war camp.

(A side note about Tom Griffin and his character is also of interest. According to the Cincinnati Inquirer:  “When his wife became ill and needed to go into a nursing home, he visited her every day.  He walked from his house to the nursing home, fed his wife and at the end of the day brought home her clothes.  At night, he washed and ironed her clothes. Then he walked them up to her room the next morning.  He did that for three years until her death in 2005.” )

 

Raider David ThatcherOf the original 80, only four Raiders remain: Dick Cole (Doolittle’s co-pilot on the Tokyo raid), Robert Hite, Edward Saylor and David Thatcher.  As mentioned, all are in their 90s.
The reunion at Fort Walton Beach, Florida marked an end to public reunions.   Florida’s nearby Eglin Field was where the Raiders trained in secrecy for the Tokyo mission. The Raiders  have decided that there are too few of them for the public reunions to continue.

Last official reunion

Last official reunion

Sometime in 2014, the remaining Doolittle Raiders will get together informally and in privacy.

 They will open the bottle of brandy and toast their fellow-Raiders once again for a job well done and for their sacrifices and determination over 72 years ago.

 

All free men and women must remember these men of valor who suffered and died for the cause of freedom.   In our troubled world of aggression and brutality, it would be good for those who would want to destroy the free world  to take a lesson from  American fighting men as well as those in all free countries who gave so much.

DETERMINATION was then and DETERMINATION to stay free is now.

 

 

Introducing a new Kindle Book: Linda Long Legs

LINDA LONG LEGS

LINDA LONG LEGS

It is my pleasure to introduce a new Kindle Book,  LINDA LONG LEGS available on Amazon   (click here to view)

This is the second in a series of self-esteem books written to help young people find their talents and identity in this difficult world.    The first book in this series was  BETTY BIG EARS also available on Amazon as an e-book and a hard copy

We hope you will pass this information along to family and friends who have young people who may benefit from this book.  It is also an excellent source for parents and  educators to engage young people in meaningful conversations.

Nancy W. Boyer, Author

 

SANDHILL CRANES in Florida and Elsewhere

sandhill craneI heard their loud calls this morning and knew the Sandhill cranes were strolling through my yard.   Most of the time the high-pitched call is to warn the others that something or someone is close by.  I have found that if I am quiet, that I can walk up to them with no problem.  They do not seem to fear the human as other birds do. Here in Florida, these birds can be seen  walking through the neighborhoods in a slow, methodical style.  Often one can see them in large numbers in a more rural setting.

The Florida Sandhill Crane is far less common than cranes in other states.  Only about  5,000 are remaining.  Building projects drive them out of their areas for reproducing.  However, in Florida, they are  protected.  Anyone harming them will receive a huge fine.   Their species is under protection of state and federal law.

“Since the loss of habitat is a somewhat controllable cause of a declining population, habitat preservation is a valuable management measure. The current outlook for the Florida sandhill crane, if it can be maintained on the protected habitats, is good. Transplanting wild birds, as well as introducing captive-reared birds into suitable areas where crane numbers are low, appears to be a practical technique in the management of this threatened species. It is hoped that these management strategies, plus continued ecological research, will prevent the Florida sandhill crane from reaching a more critical status.

Sandhill Cranes can be found from Alaska to Florida with journeys in areas in between. So you are not certain if you have seen a sandhill crane?  I have a treat for you filmed in Alaska.  It is an interesting story about a goose that thought he was a sandhill crane.

For your viewing enjoyment, I give you the elegant sandhill crane…and a goose:

Life is FRAGILE…handle with PRAYER….and a SEAT BELT?

A picture on the wall was stitched carefully by hand.   It read,” Life is fragile, handle with prayer”.  Such a truth, yet so hard to grasp.   We don’t think of life as fragile, but something that will continue  on.   It is hard to imagine that  breath could stop suddenly without regard to age or status in life.   It just happens…or does it?   Perhaps we have some choice in whether our breathing continues or not.   It may be just as simple as a seat belt.

One rarely thinks that for so long there were no laws to wear this small, strap across our chest.  How insignificant….a simple, little strap is  that may make the difference between life and death.   It may make the difference also  in the grief of a family or the joy in seeing you walk through the door.   No one thinks about it until a police report shows a seat belt was…or was not worn.

Common sense and simply remembering that life is fragile may make a difference each time you turn on  the ignition …..or your teenager does.

 

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