Sullivan Family: Service through the Generations

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In honor of Veteran’s Day, the Museum is showcasing the Sullivan Family Collection. Several generations of Sullivans served the country by joining the armed forces or otherwise aiding in military efforts.

Many of the Museum’s holdings relate to family history and community life. Photographs, documents, treasured heirlooms and the accompanying stories reveal the lives of men and women whose efforts contributed to shaping history.

Almost a century ago, Theodore M. Sullivan enlisted in the U.S. army to fight in World War I. His Enlistment Record lists his character as “excellent,” and indicates that he was involved in the battle at Verdun, France. Several photographs show him in uniform. Mr. Sullivan was awarded the Purple Heart medal for military merit for eleven different wounds he sustained while fighting in Europe in 1918.

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In subsequent years, Mr. Sullivan was active in the James E. Walker Post 26 of the American Legion, a wartime veterans’ organization formed in 1919. In this photograph, he is pictured in the middle, third from the top, during a visit of his Post to Washington, DC in 1940.

Other members of the Sullivan family continued a tradition of service for many decades. Theodore’s half-sister, Sadie Thompson, served in the Boston Chapter of the American Red Cross for over half a century, and all of Theodore’s sons enlisted in the armed forces during World War II. Edwin joined the U.S. Navy, while Earle entered the Tuskegee Institution’s program for training the first African American military pilots, now known as the “Tuskegee Airmen.” He was well into his training before his untimely death at the end of 1943.

The display will be on view through November 16, 2016.

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Veterans Remembrance Ceremony at Saint Elizabeths Hospital East Campus

St Elizabeths historic cemetery. Photo by Susana Raab

St Elizabeths historic cemetery. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

Tucked away behind Johnson Middle School on 12 Place SE, lies the remains of many of Saint Elizabeths Hospital former residents, veterans all.  Today at 11 AM a small but significant group of people gathered to honor these veterans, many of them anonymous, but some with stories that persevere.  Among those gathered to honor were: Arrington Dixon, President of the Anacostia Coordinating Council, keynote speaker and Civil Rights activist Dr. Frank Smith, now Director of the African American Civil War Museum, members of the Anacostia High School Junior ROTC, members of FREED, the Female Re-Enactors of Distinction, and the combined chorus of the US Coast Guard and St. Elizabeths Hospital, among other notables.  It was a beautiful ceremony on a perfect Washington autumn day, complete with a bagpiper, bugler, and speeches that recognized the struggles of those who were interred in the Cemetery, advocated for mental health care, and honored those who continue to serve in the US Armed Forces.

Dr. Frank Smith, Director of the African American Civil War Museum delivers the keynote address at the Veterans Remembrance Ceremony at Saint Elizabeths Hospital East Campus. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

Dr. Frank Smith, Director of the African American Civil War Museum delivers the keynote address at the Veterans Remembrance Ceremony at Saint Elizabeths Hospital East Campus.
Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

The Coast Guard Color Guard posts during the Veterans Remembrance Ceremony at Saint Elizabeths Hospital East Campus. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

The Coast Guard Color Guard posts during the Veterans Remembrance Ceremony at Saint Elizabeths Hospital East Campus.
Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

 Members of FREED (Female Reenactors of Distinction of the American Civil War): Judy Williams, Joyce Bailey, Helen Hassell, Asa Gordon, Carol Gordon, and Shirley Holmes pose for a portrait before the commencement of the Veterans Remembrance Ceremony at Saint Elizabeths Hospital East Campus. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

Members of FREED (Female Reenactors of Distinction of the American Civil War): Judy Williams, Joyce Bailey, Helen Hassell, Asa Gordon, Carol Gordon, and Shirley Holmes pose for a portrait before the commencement of the Veterans Remembrance Ceremony at Saint Elizabeths Hospital East Campus.
Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

Members of FREED (Female Reenactors of Distinction of the American Civil War): take a cellphone photograph during the Veterans Remembrance Ceremony at Saint Elizabeths Hospital East Campus. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

Members of FREED (Female Reenactors of Distinction of the American Civil War): take a cellphone photograph during the Veterans Remembrance Ceremony at Saint Elizabeths Hospital East Campus.
Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

 

-Jeffrey Burton of the US Coast Guard Pipe Band plays during the Veterans Remembrance Ceremony at Saint Elizabeths Hospital East Campus.   Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

-Jeffrey Burton of the US Coast Guard Pipe Band plays during the Veterans Remembrance Ceremony at Saint Elizabeths Hospital East Campus.
Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

Members of the Anacostia High School Junior ROTC places flags on graves of soldiers during the Veterans Remembrance Ceremony at Saint Elizabeths Hospital East Campus. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

Members of the Anacostia High School Junior ROTC places flags on graves of soldiers during the Veterans Remembrance Ceremony at Saint Elizabeths Hospital East Campus.
Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

A gravestone in Saint Elizabeths Cemetery.  Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

A gravestone in Saint Elizabeths Cemetery. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

 

 - The historic Saint Elizabeths Cemetery at Saint Elizabeths Hospital East Campus. Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

– The historic Saint Elizabeths Cemetery at Saint Elizabeths Hospital East Campus.
Photo by Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum/Smithsonian Institution

 

 

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