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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.

Lyrics

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