Andrew Dys

Pearl Harbor anniversary in Rock Hill honors the dead, survivors and one who fought 3 wars

Thursday was the 76th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. More than 2,400 people died that awful day in Hawaii. Ardrey Hasty of Rock Hill was one of them. Hasty was 18 years old.

More than 1,175 people were wounded. The late Bill Lovelace of Rock Hill lost a leg that day.

Rock Hill did not forget to pause and remember them. The memory was done with a 21-gun salute, and words and tears.

And even more, volunteers at a ceremony remembered all those who died and survived the attacks, including a late veteran named Sam Maynor and a legendary late veteran named L.C. Rice.

Rice was in the Navy during Pearl Harbor and survived. He then picked up the dead. He worked for days.

Later, Rice left on a ship for four years for the rest of World War II, and was wounded. He then enlisted in the Army, and served in both Korea and Vietnam. Rice was wounded in both those wars, too. He served 32 years.

Rice died in 2013. Volunteers held a ceremony for all Pearl Harbor veterans at Rice’s grave at Grandview Memorial Park in Rock Hill, honoring him and ever other person at Pearl Harbor.

“We honor the sacrifice of all those who died, and those who survived and fought on,” said Jordan Bolinger, 23, a leader with the Frontier Girls Scouts who assisted with the ceremony, in a prayer to open the ceremony.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2889 Honor Guard performed a 21-gun salute. A bugler and combat veteran named Bill Harris played taps.

“God bless our brothers – living and dead,” Harris said.

Rice spent much of his retirement speaking to groups about America and the military. He loved the service, and knew that war was a terrible option that sometimes was used, family said. A nephew of Rice, Dewitt Hull, told the assembled group of Scouts and family and people who care about the memory of Pearl Harbor that his uncle “uplifted people” through his service and spent his life honoring all those who had died or were wounded in Pearl Harbor.

Every year until he died, L.C. Rice would put on his old uniform and salute those who served with him.

The song ‘God Bless America’ was more than a song to Rice.

“It was his whole life,” said Hull, the nephew.

Hull and another Rice nephew, Cotton Howell, a retired York County Emergency Management director and Vietnam War veteran, presented a wreath at the grave. The grave was for all those who died, and all who were hurt, and all who fought afterward for the United States of America.

And still do.