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Tribute to Mickey Ganitch – Survivor of Pearl Harbor

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; come into God’s presence with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is God who made us, and we belong to God. We are God’s people.” – Psalm 100:1-3a

“Mickey’s strong spirit shone through his hard work.  He was ready with a kind word, with a cheerful word.  His eyes lit up as we each were greeted warmly and readily by this man who had known war and spent his life telling the story of what war is like to others. 

When I was the Pastor at Lake Merritt United Methodist Church in Oakland, California, I knew that the community there loved a spirited hymn, and so we sang spirited hymns as often as we could.  One of our favorite hymns as a community was “Marching to Zion.”  I liked to have us sing that hymn as the closing hymn of the worship service, and I would stand at the center front of the sanctuary, just as happy to sing that song as everyone else:

“We’re marching to Zion, beautiful, beautiful Zion,

We’re marching upward to Zion, that beautiful City of God..”

As we stood to sing, a few bars into the hymn, I would see Mickey Ganitch start to march around the perimeter of the sanctuary!  I smile when I remember it, as I smiled then.  Everyone in the sanctuary smiled! Mickey’s joy in life and in service to others was contagious! As Mickey marched, the children would follow, and then the adults, and we’d finish worship in a high spirit, having marched together to Zion! — Mary Elyn Bahlert, Opening Comments, 7/23/2022

Photo taken 7/23/2022, the day of Mickey Ganitch’s Memorial Service aboard the USS Hornet, moored at Alameda Air Station, Alameda, California. Photo credit: Mary Elyn Bahlert