Skip to comments.Sullivan history in documentary in error (The War)
Posted on 09/24/2007 1:13:50 PM PDT by hawkeye101
WATERLOO --- The first installment of Ken Burns' long awaited seven-part World War II documentary, "The War," which aired on PBS Sunday night, captivated many but contained one error that caught the attention of some Cedar Valley residents.
Local viewers noted that the show' first installment, "A Necessary War," mistakenly stated that the five Sullivan Brothers, who enlisted in 1941 and were killed Nov. 13, 1942, were from Fredericksburg, Iowa, and not Waterloo.
The confusion probably arose because Bill Ball of Fredericksburg, a good friend of the Sullivans, was killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor. His death, according to Courier articles, is the reason that the Sullivan brothers chose to enlist.
The Sullivans had met and made friends with Ball and his siblings when they all attended dances at the Electric Park Ballroom in the 1930s.
The Sullivan Brothers were the children of Thomas Sullivan, of Harpers Ferry, who moved to Waterloo in 1910. He married Alleta Abel, a native of Waterloo, on Feb. 14, 1914. The boys --- George, Francis, Joseph, Madison and Albert --- were all born in Waterloo.
Kelly Sullivan Loughren of Cedar Falls, granddaughter and grandniece of the Sullivans, said her ancestors did not live in Fredericksburg. She deferred to unofficial local Sullivan family historian Michael Magee of Waterloo, who agreed.
"That's disappointing," Loughren said.
Magee said he hoped the producers can correct the error on any subsequent airings or DVD releases of the film.
Lynn Novick of Florentine Films, who co-produced and co-directed the film with Burns, visited Waterloo when research for the film began more than five years ago. Waterloo had been considered as one of the communities to be featured in the film, but eventually was ruled out in favor of others.
Attempts to contact Novick this morning were unsuccessful.
I'm not sure how you could get Waterloo and Fredericksburg mixed up. Waterloo is a city of 70,000 people; Fredericksburg is a tiny town of less than a thousand.
I have DVRed the first episode and I can’t wait to watch it. I just got done watching his Civil War series for the millionth time.
I remember crying like a little boy at the end of the movie “The Sullivan Brothers”, which I was.
As errors go it is not a major one in and of itself. But when one considers: how famous the Sullivan Brothers are, that they have had a ship named for them and that the Navy changed it's policies because of them, it is an oversight that should have been easily checked.
Sloppy research, or laziness, on Burns, or others part, I would say.
I joined about a half-hour into last night’s program, and I thought it was over after the Guadalcanal reminiscences were done. I was waiting for the final credits, and then there was the experience of the Mexican-American Lunsford in the Marines’ “Carlson’s Raiders.” I instantly remembered that this was the tacked-on part that Burns did to accommodate Hispanic complaints “their” soldiers weren’t recognized in the doc.
First the documentary mentioned that Henderson Field was named after a fighter pilot killed at Midway, and I think the pilot actually died at Wake.
The other was a reference to the "single-shot bolt rifles" our Marines carried when they landed at Guadalcanal (1903 Springfields, which compared favorably to the Type 38 Arisakas the Japanese carried).
I changed the channel when the "hispandering" part began.
The movie I know is called “The Fighting Sullivans”. I guess there could be two movies out there about them. This one has a scene near the end with the father pulling away on his train and looking up at the water tower his boys used to sit on to see him off. Very moving stuff.
They’re still complaining :
I liked seeing all the hollywood celebrities coming out to help the war effort and I tried to imagine todays self indulgent whiners in LAla land ever stepping up like that
i imagined them coming out and asking why we had invaded europe when it wasn’t hilter that attacked pearl harbor
They were a different breed to be sure. Many actually enlisted and saw combat too.
Actors and entertainers have always been a "bohemian" bunch, but they at least seemed to believe in our country then.
There are some amoung the modern ones who do, in fact probably more than we realize, but they dare not risk the left-wing "blacklist" that exists presently in the industry.
I listened to Lt. Winters, who commanded the "Easy Company" portrayed in the television series "Band Of Brothers" in an interview say that there were four men in his home town who committed suicide because the military would not accept them.
I suspect that some of that was because they were young men bitterly dissapointed at missing the "big show," but people truly were different back then. If not out of patriotism, most joined, I believe, because they thought it was the right thing to do.
Excuse me? Do they not count "white" an ethnic group? This doesn't make a lick of sense to me, probably for good reason.
More than 500,000 Hispanics fought in the war, and Hispanics have earned more Medals of Honor than any other ethnic group, said League of United Latin American Citizens national President Rosa Rosales.
I doubt Rosa Rosales thinks whites are anything but an inconvenience.
I liked seeing all the hollywood celebrities coming out to help the war effort and I tried to imagine todays self indulgent whiners in LAla land ever stepping up like that.
I just posted the following link in the CHAT saection that I think you will like:
I suspect that some of that was because they were young men bitterly dissapointed at missing the "big show," but people truly were different back then. If not out of patriotism, most joined, I believe, because they thought it was the right thing to do. My father joined the Marines in July 1942 and washed out as 4F - he was deeply ashamed of this. It didn't matter to him that he went on to work on the Manhattan Project at Hanford and that his contribution to the war effort there was just as important as what he could've done with the USMC he never got over the fact that he didn't "do his part" in uniform.
I’ve watched some of it...and it’s left leaning crap. Bias through and through...pbs sucks.
Same here. I watched that 1944 movie a jillion times. At the end, when they were walking in the clouds, and then waiting for the youngest one to catch up, like in he did in real life, was a real tearjerker.
Can you imagine what would have happened if the Italian American community complained about not receiving specific coverage.
This is a cut & paste of my response to a poster who thought somebody was insulting active duty personnel in another thread which was about this very topic. Im also attaching a link to that thread as well. Forgive my laziness in not re-typing it.
"I think the slam was intended for "hispanic veterans" who are indignant about Burns failure to insert policical correctness into a documentary.
I haven't seen the documentary yet of course, but in my opinion the only valid focus on ethnicity in a history of Americans in WWII would be on the institutional segregation of black Americans, and the story of the American Indian code talkers, and the Japanese Neisi. It has some relevance in those cases.
I have Mexican blood, and a Mexican great uncle who fought at Tarawa. I know he would have been disgusted at the transparent manner those activists try to inject modern politics into history.
He (that great uncle) did by the way tell me often when I was a young boy that he had nothing but contempt for Mexico and wouldn't consider living in that country as a king. He also had a brother (who I never knew) who was severely wounded at the Remagen Bridge.
I guess some these groups just have to have their special recognition! as for the rest, well I guess that they have to settle for being AMERICANS.
What do you expect from Minnesota, anyway?
USS The Sullivans (DDG-68)
Wrong on two counts. I just don't buy the 500,000 number. Approximately 16 million Americans served in uniform during WWII. Hispanics made up around 1.5% of the 130 million Americans, which equates to 1,950,000. When you take into account that half of the number were women and then allow for age, i.e., the number of men between the ages of 18-30, there is no way 500,000 served even if some women are added who could have served in the WACs, WAVEs, etc.
Irish-Ameicans claim that they had more MOH winners. Irish Dominate Medal of Honor List
To the credit of the men in the field, none of that mattered.