Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Sullivan Brothers

This is a little late for Memorial day, but I only today learned of this story. I happened upon this picture in an email I got and was curious so did a google search.

The Sullivan brothers were all assigned to the same ship, the USS Juneau. Their ship was hit by a Japanese torpedo, and they were all 5 killed. This is the letter that was sent to their mother.

"Dear Mrs. Sullivan:

"The knowledge that your five gallant sons are missing in action, against the enemy, inspired me to write you this personal message. I realize full well there is little I can say to assuage your grief."As the Commander in Chief of the Army and the Navy, I want you to know that the entire nation shares your sorrow. I offer you the condolence and gratitude of our country. We, who remain to carry on the fight, must maintain the spirit in the knowledge that such sacrifice is not in vain. The Navy Department has in-formed me of the expressed desire of your sons; George Thomas, Francis Henry, Joseph Eugene, Madison Abel, and Albert Leo, to serve on the same ship. I am sure, that we all take pride in the knowledge that they fought side by side. As one of your sons wrote, `We will make a team together that can't be beat.' It isthis spirit which in the end must triumph.
"Last March, you, Mrs. Sullivan, were designated to sponsor a ship of the Navy in recognition of your patriotism and that of your sons. I am to understand that you are, now, even more determined to carry on as sponsorer. This evidence of unselfish-ness and courage serves as a real inspiration for me, as I am sure it will for all Americans. Such acts of fate and fortitude in the face of tragedy convince me of the indomitable spirit and will of our people.
"I send you my deepest sympathy in your hour of trial and pray that in Almighty God you will find a comfort and help that only He can bring.

Very sincerely yours,"/s/ Franklin D. Roosevelt"

Contrary to popular belief, the Navy has NOT issued a policy prohibiting family members from serving on the same ship. In the honor of these 5 brothers, the Navy Christened the below ship, "USS The Sullivans".


Amber said...

what an amazing story - how sad to lose all five sons at once!

Ramana Rajgopaul said...

What an inspiring story. I am truly grateful to you for bringing this to my notice. I am particularly partial to the Navies of the world and this one is truly extraordinary.