The Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum opened in Waterloo one year ago, and a special World War Two-themed event is planned Saturday to mark the anniversary. Bob Neymeyer, the museum’s project coordinator, says they’ve put together a program that is modeled after the canteens of World War Two and the events include a performance by the U-S-O Liberty Bells of New York City. The event, called “A Night at the Hollywood Canteen”, will also feature dance lessons, local celebrity servers, and actors dressed as Hollywood stars who may have visited a canteen during World War Two.
Neymeyer says anniversary events will tell the story of Iowa veterans, just as the museum does. The facility, which opened in November 2008, honors the estimated 800,000 Iowa veterans from the Civil War to the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. He says they continue to collect information on veterans, particularly those who died in the service as they have a memorial wall that provides more information on the veterans.
Neymeyer says the first-year interest has exceeded the museum’s goal. Neymeyer says they’ve had 25 to 27,000 people visit the first seven months of the year and he says they’ve had a lot of out-of-state visitors who were visiting their family an came to the museum. The winner of the Sullivan Brothers Outstanding Military Family Award will be announced at Saturday’s event too. The award and museum are both named after the five Waterloo siblings, who served and died together in World War Two.
Their deaths in 1942 resulted in the biggest sacrifice by one family in American military history. Neymeyer says the award recognizes a family who has at least three members serving in combat or at home to support those soldiers – much like the Sullivans. He says they look forward to honoring another family for both their service overseas, and the work they’ve done on the home front. Saturday’s anniversary events run from 5 to 9 p.m. at the museum in Waterloo.
Contributed by Elwin Huffman, KOEL, Oelwein