The Sullivan brothers.

Officials in Waterloo will designate a central block in downtown Waterloo as “Sullivan Brothers Plaza” to honor the five brothers who died together in World War II when their ship was sunk.

“The name of the Sullivan Brothers should remain because that’s their birthplace…They need to be honored for the ultimate sacrifice that they gave to our country,” says veteran Hal Burke of Chicago, a leader in U.S.S. The Sullivans Association for sailors who served on the two Navy ships named for the brothers.

Descendants of the Sullivans and veterans like Burke raised objections when a developer planning to renovate Waterloo’s downtown convention center suggested scrubbing the Sullivans’ name from the property.

“To throw the Sullivan brothers name and Sullivan family legacy under the bus was just intolerable and very insensitive,” Burke says.

Burke was among 25 reunion planners who were in Waterloo in late June for a seminar touting Waterloo as a host city for veterans’ gatherings.

The five Sullivan brothers died in 1942 when the U.S.S. Juneau was sunk during the Battle of Guadalcanal. Officials say there may be a dedication ceremony as soon as this fall for the Sullivan Brothers Plaza since November 13th will mark the 75th anniversary of the brothers’ deaths at sea.