In remarks, 32nd U.S. Army chief of staff credits Norwich University for enabling his success
As Norwich University honored service and sacrifice by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack victims Saturday morning, President Mark Anarumo and President Emeritus Richard W. Schneider were in Quincy, Massachusetts, dedicating a new bridge and park honoring Quincy’s armed forces generals, including Gordon R. Sullivan ’59.
The 10 a.m. Saturday dedication, which included a Massachusetts National Guard Howitzer salute, a jetfighter flyover and music from the U.S. Navy Band Northeast Trident Brass Quintet, was timed to coincide with 9/11’s 20th anniversary.
The dedication occurred at the corner of the Gen. McConville Way and Gen. Dunford Drive in Quincy Center and honored seven recent and several historical U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps and National Guard generals from Quincy.
“If you stick your hand in the air at some recruiting station and say, ‘Send me! Send me!,’ you are my hero.”Gordon R. Sullivan, retired U.S. Army general, Norwich University Class of 1959
The McConville from the intersection and its accompanying street sign is James McConville, now the U.S. Army’s staff chief, a post Sullivan held from 1991 to 1995. The Dunford is retired U.S. Marine Corps general and former Joint Chiefs Chairman Joseph Dunford, who was born in Boston and raised in Quincy.
Bronze statues of Sullivan, Dunford and McConville, each standing 7 feet tall, were unveiled in a plaza between Thomas E. Burgin Parkway and Hancock Street, the Patriot Ledger, Quincy’s daily newspaper, reported. Sergey Eylanbekov, who sculpted the John Adams and John Hancock statues in Quincy’s common, also sculpted the new statues.
Beyond Sullivan, Dunford and McConville, Saturday’s ceremony hailed living honorees U.S. Army National Guard Maj. Gen. Francis McGinn, retired U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Ronald Rand and posthumous honorees U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Charles Sweeney and U.S. Air Force Reserve Maj. Gen. Stephen Keefe.
Bronze busts honored McGinn, Rand, Keefe and Sweeney, the Patriot Ledger reported. Names of 11 generals from Quincy dating back to the 1700s were engraved in the park’s stonework.
Historical generals honored at Saturday’s dedication included Joseph Palmer and John Hancock (Continental Army); Charles Francis Adams Jr., Alfred Foote, Albert Jones, Samuel Miller Quincy, Horace Binney Sargent, Thomas Taylor (U.S. Army); and Louis Seith (U.S. Air Force).
As Boston’s WFXT-TV, Channel 25, reported, 18 U.S. military generals grew up in Quincy, four of whom achieved four stars.
Sullivan, who was born in Boston and grew up in Quincy, was one of five generals who spoke at Saturday’s dedication along with Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass.
Lessons on war
After Gen. Dennis Reimer, the U.S. Army’s 33rd chief of staff, introduced him, Sullivan described his family’s emigration in 1871 from Scotland to Quincy to work in granite (his great grandfather was a stonecutter). Sullivan recalled his mother taking him as a boy to the Abigail Adams Cairn in Quincy, which marks the spot where she and her son John Quincy watched Charlestown, Massachusetts, burn on June 17, 1775, after a British attack during the Battle of Bunker Hill.
Sullivan said his mother relayed how much winning at Bunker Hill had cost the Brits — 200 were killed, 800 were wounded.
“That was a lesson to me,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan, who served 36 years in the Army, also recalled the Fore River Shipyard, where crowds of veterans built enemy-leveling warships, and praised people who, as many Norwich University students do, decide to serve in the armed forces.
“If you stick your hand in the air at some recruiting station and say, ‘Send me! Send me!,’ you are my hero,” he said. “There is nothing like being in a uniform and serving the United States of America.”
Sullivan also remembered attending Norwich University and shouted out Schneider. (Norwich has honored Sullivan by putting his name on the Sullivan Museum and History Center and on the Bicentennial Stairs.)
“Twenty-eight years he was the president of Norwich University, and he came here to see me,” Sullivan said, prompting applause. “And if it wasn’t for Norwich University, you wouldn’t have me here, and I mean that.”
The Generals Bridge and park project, started in 2019, is a $35.6 million Quincy city-and-Massachusetts state endeavor funded by the Massachusetts Transportation Department.
See a livestream of the dedication.
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- The man for whom the Sullivan Museum and History Center is named
- Oral history interview with Gordon R. Sullivan from Archives & Special Collections
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- Norwich University alumni reflect on Sept. 11, 2001