70th Anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor, ‘God Bless America’

by lewwaters

Vancouver’s Penny Ross is joined by Claire Lacy in leading us all in the song, “God Bless America” this past Wednesday at the services commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor.

Claire is the wife of Pearl Harbor survivor Hal Lacy who was aboard the USS Tennessee.

Penny’s father was Donald K. Ross, who was awarded the first Medal of Honor in World War Two for his heroic actions aboard the USS Nevada on that day.

From the Wikipedia page on Capt. Ross we read,

“During the December 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Nevada was badly damaged by bombs and torpedoes. Ross distinguished himself by assuming responsibility to furnish power to get the ship underway — the only battleship to do so during the Japanese attack. When the forward dynamo room where he was stationed filled with smoke and steam, he ordered his men to leave and continued servicing the dynamo himself until being blinded and falling unconscious. Upon being rescued and resuscitated, he went back to secure the forward dynamo, then worked in the aft dynamo room until losing consciousness a second time due to exhaustion. After waking, he again returned to his duties until Nevada was beached. His actions kept the ship under power, preventing it from sinking in the channel and blocking other ships in the harbor.”

“Despite his impaired eyesight, Ross refused hospitalization and instead helped with rescue efforts. He entered a hospital three days after the attack, and his vision returned to normal after three weeks. For these actions, he was presented with the Medal of Honor by Admiral Chester Nimitz on April 18, 1942, becoming the first person to receive the medal in World War II.”

In 1997, the guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG-71) was named in his honor with Penny as the matron for the ship.

Capt. Ross passed away in 1992 after suffering a heart attack at the age of 81. His ashes were scattered at sea over the USS Nevada.

His ribbon and citation as well as a photo is on display at the Museum at the Veterans Museum at the East side of the Vancouver VA campus.

Thanks to the efforts of Penny, Rick Kincaid, son-in-law of now deceased Pearl Harbor survivor Earl Harshberger and Hal Lacy’s son Marc Lacy, president of the Pacific Northwest Sons & Daughters of the Pearl Harbor Survivors, the memories of the sacrifices of so many heroes of years past will remain alive to be shared with younger generations.

I look forward to many years of Penny leading us all in singing “God Bless America” with hopes more will remember that without God, we have little.

3 Comments to “70th Anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor, ‘God Bless America’”

  1. I posted this on my Face Book. Gooooo Penny!


  2. I’ll always remember the story of how “God Bless America” came about through the efforts of Kate Smith, and Irving Berlin who wrote the original version.


    I wish they had kept the original words: “To the right with the might from above”.


  3. What a fastidious YouTube video it is! Awesome, I loved it, and I am sharing this YouTube record with all my colleagues.


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