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"PEACE FOR THE HEART HE GAVE" (A song for John "Jack" Vincent Power)
Written and performed by Doug Kwartler. Featuring the St. Anne Church Choir,
Worcester, MA.

From the USS Power DD-839 Web site:

"In landing on Namur, his company encountered the heaviest resistance of the entire Marshall Islands invasion. They had been ashore only a couple of hours, when a burst of enemy gunfire struck Power in his abdomen as he placed an explosive charge in a Japanese pillbox. His men got him to the shelter of a nearby shell hole and applied an emergency dressing to the injury. Power refused to be evacuated back to the aid station on the beach. On his orders, his men reluctantly left him in the shell hole and returned to battle.

As his men advanced, the battle grew more intense. To their surprise, they spotted Power crawling toward them, clutching his bleeding midsection with one hand while firing his carbine as rapidly as he could with the other. Power headed straight for another Japanese pillbox, toward an opening torn in its side by his men. They helplessly watched as Power struggled to within a few feet of the opening. Then his ammunition gave out. Power tried to insert a fresh clip of bullets into his carbine. The Japanese still alive in the pillbox opened fire on him at point-blank range, as his beloved comrades watched in horror. Their fusillade of bullets struck him in the head and body, killing him instantly..."

Jack Power’s family joined President Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the White House on Aug. 30, 1944, to receive their son’s posthumous Medal of Honor. That medal, along with Joseph O’Callahan’s, resides in the Archives of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester."

To visit the USS Power Website, click here.
For more on John Power at Wikipedia, click here.

How I Got Involved:

On February 10th of this year I received an email from my friend Nick Noble, a DJ on WICN 90.5 FM (wicn.org) (Folk Revival) asking me if I were up to what he called "a musical challenge." Nick mentioned that outside the Worcester, MA City Hall was a statue of Worcester Native John (Jack) Vincent Power, a U.S. marine killed in action during WWII who received the Congressional Medal of Honor. A Navy Ship, the USS Power, was named in his honor. Nick wrote that USS Power Association, which holds an annual reunion in Worcester, was interested in telling their namesake's story in song. Nick was also going to do a show on John Power and the organization sometime this summer. Nick provided me with web links to stories about Jack and asked if I'd write something. Turns out I wrote two songs about Jack that night. But we'll leave leave the other song for a later time.

"Peace for the Heart He Gave" was the first song I started. After I finished recording it, I thought it needed an extra "something." That something turned out to be the St. Anne's Church Choir, from Worcester, MA. The song needed a choir on the last chorus and I wanted to get one that was from Jack's hometown. After a few conversations with the choir's musical director, Mike Palumbo, we arranged a recording session at the church. The choir members in that session were: Paula Petrone, Kathy Tracy, Estelle Richard, Joe and Jan Zecco, Peggy Olson, Jane May, Bruce Card, Mike Quinn, Victor Kruczynski, Rosemary Morana, Joan White, Sharlene Abraham, and Mike Palumbo. A huge thanks go out to all of them. Their contributions take the song to a higher place.

The imagery in the song is not only taken from Jack's story on the battlefield, but also from the many other stories I've read about him. Some of the description of Jack are direct quotes from friends, relatives or fellow soldiers.

Writing this song, finding out about this courageous soldier and meeting the St. Anne choir were all very satisfying experiences for me. Thanks go out to my friend Nick Noble for asking me to be a part of it!