Memorial Day is just around the corner and many of us are anticipating our day off- sleeping in, grilling out and an afternoon nap. But what is Memorial Day? Originally enacted to honor soldiers of the Civil War, it was expanded and emphasized at the close of World War I. The day is set aside in commemoration of American men and women who have died while in military service.
This series of photos was taken from the University of Chattanooga’s student newspaper, “The Echo” on January 12, 1945. The Echo always ran pictures of students and alums who were considered casualties during World War II (including those missing in action).
One such student (not pictured here) was Leroy Sullivan, an American Flight Lieutenant who died while serving during WWII. The Special Collections department retains a collection of Lieutenant Sullivan’s letters to his friend, Grady Long, in Chattanooga. The letters reveal a courageous and spirited youth who lost his life serving his country at the age of 22- leaving his mother the only surviving member of the family (having lost her husband, 8 months before Leroy was born, in WWI).
Lieutenant Sullivan’s story is not unique. Each one of these young men had stories, lives, and families of their own. This Memorial Day, take a moment of your time to remember these young men, and all those who have given their lives in service to our country.