Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Fighting Sullivans

This past Christmas my son gave me "The Fighting Sullivans", one of my favorite movies. For anyone who doesn't know, it is the story of five brothers growing up in Waterloo, Iowa during the depression. The movie begins with the Baptism of each boy, then progresses through their childhood and young adulthood. The youngest is the only son to marry and have a child.

Then, Pearl Harbor. All the brothers struggle to stay together when they join the navy. They are assigned to the USS Juneau in the Pacific. There are seven sets of two brothers, one set of four brothers and the Sullivans.

As with all dvd's, this one had a lot of extras. Among them was an interview with Frank Holmgren, the last living survivor from that ship. The interview was very interesting, but I thought some of the questions were a little odd. Evidently the interviewer was very young, he didn't realize that after Pearl Harbor, people didn't think about it, they just enlisted. He kept pushing Mr. Holmgren about his feelings, "How did you feel during the battle?", "How did your parents feel?", etc. At that time, people didn't have the luxury of exploring their feelings, they just worked to survive.

I did a litte research (I just love Google) and found, according to one survivor, that George, the oldest, did not die when the ship was blown up. He was one of those in the life raft, but after four days at sea in the life raft, he was delirous and tried to swim to shore, but was attacked by sharks that were circling the rafts and waiting.

About 100 survived the sinking of the ship. Of that, only ten survived being on the water for seven days before a seaplane landed and rescued them.

So today, armed with tissues, I sat down to watch. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and the cry. I cry every time I see it, I even cry when I think about it. I don't know why I cry, maybe it's because of that family's loss, or the loss of a simpler time.

If you don't mind a good cry and want to see a family story, I would recommend this movie. Actually this movie was the inspiration for "Saving Private Ryan".

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