Father Flanagan and Boys Town

I was listening to music in the car on the way to work and was intrigued by the song “He ain’t Heavy” by the Housemartins. I knew that the song referenced the famous slogan of Boy’s Town: “He ain’t heavy, Father. He’s my brother.”

SO I started a search on the web looking for the whole story behind the quote. So far i have found the following:

One snowy winter night a boy carrying his brother showed up on the steps of the Boy’s Town orphanage. When Father Flanagan told him to put his heavy burden down the boy said “He ain’t heavy, Father. He’s my brother.”

One bright summer day when the boys of Boys Town were going swimming one of the crippled kids was being left behind. Another boy picked him up to carry him to the swimming hole. Father Flanagan told the others to help. You can guess what happened next.

One boy carrying another from a burning house. Another boy carrying an injured one back to the orphanage.

The question is: What’s the true story? Is this even a true story? The official Original Boys Town website doesn not make mention of either the story or the slogan, except that the chior will sing He’s my Brother at some concert.

It’s up to the teemsters now.

IIRC the song is inspired by a photo from the Viet-Nam war showing a small girl carrying her brother on her back.

The saying is actually from the 1938 movie “Boys Town”.

Revisionist history.

If the Viet Nam thing is true, then we should all be sending investigative teams to Boys Town to find out where they got the time machine from and why they’re keeping it a secret.

I saw Easter-seals type “stamps” (sent in solicitations for donations) picturing the two boys and the “He ain’t heavy, Father – he’s my brother!” caption when I was seven or eight, in the mid 1950’s – my grandfather sent them an annual donation and was on their mailing list.

Interesting thread-my mother was a long-term contributor to Boys Town. Now , I understand that there are NO MORE ORPHANS-so waht does Boy’s Town do with the money?:confused:

No more orphans? Where would you have gotten that idea?

You may have confused it with the fact that in the U.S., there are no (or very few) orphanages as the states attempt to place orphaned children in foster homes or have them adopted.

With the rise of broken families and the decrease of extended families, there are probably more orphans, now, than previously.

As to what they are “doing” with the money, you can check out the FAQ page from the renamed Girls and Boys Town.

Oh mother. I may have to refer this one to good old Uncle Cecil himself. Nobody seems to know the truth. It’s a conspiracy. There’s probably Watergaters involved.

Well, I understand that Chuck Colson endorsed their work! :slight_smile: