SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A tribute took place Thursday to honor late Gunnery Sergeant Thomas J. Sullivan in the neighborhood he grew up in, Springfield.
A U.S. Marine Honor Guard raised the American flag over the newly named GySgt. Thomas J. Sullivan Park along the banks of Watershops Pond in East Forest Park.
It was a lasting tribute to the U.S. Marine hero who lost his life trying to protect fellow servicemen during the terrorist attack on a Chattanooga, Tennessee Naval Reserve Center on July 16, 2015.
Members of his family attended this stirring tribute to GySgt. Sullivan.
His brother Joe Sullivan shared his feelings with 22News, “Gratitude, gratitude, it’s a bittersweet feeling, we lost our brother, but we’ve got something beautiful now, the city has something beautiful to enjoy.”
Diane Sullivan, his sister, also told 22News what it was like to be at an event honoring her late brother.
“I’m completely humbled,” she said. As my entire family probably is. I mean we’re so grateful. I know my brother, Tommy would be completely humbled right now.”
Family friend, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno was master of ceremonies for the emotional tribute to Marine GySgt. Thomas Sullivan.
“Tommy who looks down upon us is shaking his head, I’m sure his brother would say, what’s the big deal, I was just doing my job,” Mayor Sarno told 22News.
The dozens of family, friends, and neighborhood residents who attended pledged to regularly visit the newly named park as a way of paying tribute to GySgt. Sullivan’s memory.