Dunning veterans day ceremony 2Rhode Island Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos presents a certificate to Miriam Clancy and Michael Clancy, grandchildren of Rose Sherburne Clancy, the first Rhode Island woman to enlist in World War I, during a Veterans Day ceremony at Portsmouth Town Hall on Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021. 

Portsmouth Legion honors RI's first female to enlist in WWI at Veteran's Day ceremony

By Savana Dunning
via the Newport Daily News newspaper (RI) web site

The Clancy family’s legacy in military service began with Rose Sherburne Clancy, the first Rhode Island woman to enlist in the Navy during World War I. Clancy trained and served at Newport Naval Base, became the state’s first female Navy Yeoman’s Mate Second Class, and later, the first female commander for a RI American Legion (Providence 44).

Though it has been 75 years since Rose Sherburne Clancy passed away, her grandchildren, Michael Clancy and Army Reserve Maj. Miriam Clancy, and have kept her memory alive, both through their own service in the United States Military and by working with local veteran organizations like the Portsmouth chapter of the American Legion, to honor her legacy.

When cousins Michael and Miriam reached out to the Portsmouth chapter of the American Legion to discuss honoring Rose’s legacy, Commander Francis Gutierrez decided to dedicate the annual Veteran’s Day ceremony to Rose and all servicewomen throughout the state.

“I feel it's important that we do this every year,” Gutierrez said. “It validates our veterans and validates the sacrifices they’ve made and they continue to make every day.”

Michael Clancy gave a short speech detailing his grandmother’s legacy and the impact it had in producing a family of veterans who followed in her footsteps. A veteran himself, Michael Clancy took some of the time to honor his cousin Miriam for her service and work in maintaining Rose’s legacy.

“(Miriam) is the one who inspires me the most,” Michael Clancy said at the Portsmouth Legion Veteran’s Day ceremony on Thursday. “When 9/11 happened, Miriam stepped up. Miriam went back into the army, where she’s currently still serving today. She makes me so proud because that is what our grandmother did. She stepped up.”

Alongside Michael, Miriam, and several other members of the Clancy family, Gutierrez invited Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos and U.S. Naval War College President Shoshana Chatfield. Matos presented a Governor’s Citation, a certificate of recognition, to the Clancy’s on behalf of Gov. Dan McKee and herself.

Matos related the issues women faced in enlisting in the military to the hesitation and hardship she experienced in running for office.

“It’s truly an honor to acknowledge the contribution of a female who honestly shattered our glass ceiling early on when no one thought it could happen,” Matos said. “You have to admire what she did at that time, that was so hard. We feel it is so hard for us as females in politics or trying to do the work of public service, but I can only imagine how tough it was back then for it.”

Read the entire article on the Newport Daily News web site.

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