November 15, 2008 — Waterloo, Iowa
A new national treasure is set to open this fall in America’s Heartland. The Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum in Waterloo, Iowa, will play a role in preserving the history and service of all Iowa veterans, and serve as a national hub for research and genealogy studies.
The $11.5 million, state-of-the-art facility pays tribute at a time when the number of surviving World War II and Korea veterans is diminishing by the day. A Grand Opening event will be Nov. 15, to celebrate, and raise local and national awareness about its historic value.
The Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum is an expansion of the Grout Museum District, a private, not-for-profit entity that has grown into a regional and national cornerstone of history, culture and the sciences. The museum addition is already attracting attention beyond state lines. “It has both regional and national appeal because of the many veterans that have served with our Iowa veterans,” said Cyd McHone, Grout Museum District Director of Development and Marketing. “The museum will be a great place for veterans’ tours and reunions, many are already scheduled months in advance.”
The Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum is named after the five Sullivan brothers from Waterloo, Iowa. They lost their lives, along with 700 other crewmembers, when their ship, the USS Juneau, was sunk in the South Pacific on Nov. 13, 1942, in the Battle of Guadalcanal.
The 32,000-square-foot facility named in their honor consists of permanent and temporary exhibits, video histories, artifacts, plane and tank replicas, and a near life-size re-creation of the bow of the USS Juneau. Museum patrons will receive personalized veteran dog tags when they arrive, allowing them to experience an Iowan’s story. Interactive video exhibits also showcase hundreds of veterans’ stories, and a veteran registration program will serve as an important research tool.
“We want to be leaders in preserving this rich history of our veterans,” said Billie Bailey, Executive Director of the Grout Museum District. “This nation owes so much to veterans. We want to play our part in preserving that for generations.”
The Grand Opening celebration for the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum will be a daylong event. The Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Donald C. Winter, will lead the museum dedication, and the Parade Band of Navy Band Great Lakes also will perform.
‘With Love Stan’
Those who visit the museum in Waterloo, Iowa, should expect to see Sp4 Stanley D. Ross represented there as well as Iowa veterans from the Civil War through the current war in Iraq. A year ago, Bob Neymeyer, historian and project coordinator for the new addition, contacted Karen Ross Epp of Newton, after reading her book, “With Love Stan, A Soldier’s Letters From Vietnam To The World,” about her brother, Stan Ross.
“A book notice in the Des Moines Register attracted my attention to ‘With Love Stan.’ As historian for Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum, I had been looking for an authentic, personal account of service in Vietnam. When I read the book, I knew I had found the ‘real thing.’ Here was an unvarnished narrative of a young soldier in the field. In his letters, he captured the fear of the battlefield, the anguish of loss, the humor of the absurd and the pride of service. Through all his experiences, he always made the connection with family and home. The family’s reflections on Stan help to further define him and the men who served with him. The letters and photos will form the core of our Vietnam exhibit. We consider it a great privilege to present his story in the museum so present and future generations can better understand the meaning of service and sacrifice,” Neymeyer said in a news release.
Stan was a member of the 199th Light Infantry Brigade, Charlie Co, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry. He was mortally wounded on Oct. 20, 1969. The family has donated photographs, letters and other artifacts belonging to Stan for this exhibit. His mother Rose and father Russell are anxious to attend the dedication and view not only their son’s place in it but all those brave men and women who served, from Iowa, in the military, a news release stated.
Epp’s book will be on sale in the Museum gift shop.
About The Grout
The Grout Museum District, accredited by the American Association of Museums, features permanent and temporary exhibits, educational opportunities for school groups, historic excursions, group tours, as well as many opportunities for individuals and families that visit the district daily.
For more information about the Grout Museum District and the new Sullivan