The maker of a World War II documentary has issued an apology for a mistaken reference to the five famous brothers from Iowa who died together when their ship was sunk during the war. The first installment of the PBS documentary mentioned the Sullivans. The film said that the Sullivans were from Fredericksburg, but the five Sullivan brothers were actually from Waterloo.
Florentine Films, the production company for Ken Burns’ documentary “The War,” acknowledged the error in a statement, extending the company’s “deepest” and “sincere” apologies. The statement went on to say that the “story of the Sullivan Brothers in an important part of Waterloo’s history.”
The co-producer and co-director of the series visited Waterloo about five years ago to do research. The confusion over Fredericksburg may have arisen if she read an old Des Moines Register story. George Sullivan told a reporter for the paper that he and his brothers were enlisting in the Navy because their pal, George Ball of Fredericksburg, had been killed at Pearl Harbor.
Four of the Sullivan brothers died when their ship went down November 13, 1942 in the Pacific. The fifth, George Sullivan, was wounded, but made it onto a raft where he survived for five days before either dying of his wounds or succumbing to a shark attack.