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Tin Penny: Music

Five Sullivan Brothers

(Tin Penny)
February 16, 2018
(c) 2010 Beth and Larry Welton

Hearing the story of the Sullivan brothers reminded me of my own five brothers, and when I tried to imagine what it would be like to lose all of them at once, I was so moved, I had to write this song.

Five Sullivan Brothers

Welton/Welton  © 2010

 

 In Waterloo, Iowa, 1914

Tom Sullivan married the girl of his dreams

The children came quickly: two daughter, five sons

And they grew in the Iowa sun, the sun

They grew in the Iowa sun

 

When the youngest named Kathleen died as a babe

The whole town of Waterloo mourned

But they all pulled together, as small towns will do

And the Sullivan family grew, they grew,

The rest of the Sullivans grew

 

The seventh of December, 1941

Bombs fell on the ships in the Pearl Harbor sun

Sister Jennie’s beau Bill was among those who died

And all of the Sullivans cried, they cried

And all of the Sullivans cried

 

Then the Sullivan brothers all marched down as one

Said “we’ll fight for this country we love

But we serve side by side, that’s how it must be

‘cause we all stick together, you see, you see

We all stick together, you see.”

 

November found the brothers, Frank, Mattie and Joe

Albert and George on the good ship Juneau

When a torpedo struck, and the good ship went down

And three of the brothers then drowned, they drowned

And three of the Sullivans drowned.

 

Albert lived for hours, and George lived for days

In the end, there was none left alone

Five Sullivan brothers all went off to war

But none of the brothers came home, came home

But none of the brothers came home.

 

In Waterloo, Iowa on any fine day

In a park where the Sullivan children once played

Families gather, the old and the young

To play in the Iowa sun, the sun

To play in the Iowa sun

 

Nearly there’s a statue that tells them the tale

Of a family’s spirit, now flown

Five Sullivan brothers all went off to war

But none of the brothers came home, came home

But none of the brothers came home