Fort Gordon holds memorial service for Hannah Ross

7-year-old drowned on post

Friday, May 4, 2012 6:26 PM
Last updated Saturday, May 5, 2012 2:15 PM
  • Follow Metro

Most of Hannah Ross’ memorial service Friday at Fort Gordon looked back on the seven years she was alive.

Back | Next
Soldiers wait outside Alexander Hall to pass out balloons as people exit the memorial service for Hannah Ross.   MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Soldiers wait outside Alexander Hall to pass out balloons as people exit the memorial service for Hannah Ross.

It ended with a note of hope and a short video of Hannah singing the song To­morrow from the musical Annie.

“Now is the time to mourn, but in some time tomorrow, there will be joy,” said Capt. David Ward, a chaplain for the 297th Military Intel­li­gence Battalion.

The song was one that several hundred volunteers sang last weekend as they searched the woods around Hannah’s home at Cypress Circle on the Army post, hoping to get her attention. The autistic girl had walked away barefoot from her home last Saturday evening, and her body was found about 3:15 p.m. Sunday in Soil Erosion Lake.

Maj. Gen. Alan Lynn, the commanding general of Fort Gordon, joined in the search. Hannah’s mother, Lauren Sackman, told him the sight of so many people singing another of Hannah’s favorite songs, I Love Candy, would have made her laugh.

“The power of Hannah’s spirit is the true miracle here,” Lynn said. “She touched hundreds of lives in a short time.”

Hannah’s father, Maj. John Sack­man, moved to Fort Gordon about a month ago with his wife and their three children. The military analyst for the 297th has been sent on deployments, but he told his commander, Col. Barry Harris, that all of the combat training never prepared him for the loss of a child.

“It’s been very difficult,” Harris said.

Friday’s ceremony opened with a photo montage showing Hannah from birth to a toddler to a trick-or-treating girl with a bright smile.

Lt. Col. Reese Bell described her as a girl who memorized movie lines and enjoyed dressing like a princess. Purple was her favorite color, and she slept with a stuffed bear named Izzy. Pizza on Friday was a highlight of her week.

At the end of the ceremony, hundreds of purple balloons were released into a dark sky threatening rain.

“While we may have lost a little angel on Earth, heaven most assuredly has gained one,” Harris said.

Comments (3) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
TrulyWorried 05/04/12 - 08:35 pm
God bless all these caring

God bless all these caring folks!!! Hannah is in the hands of the Lord.
May her family find peace in the knowledge that she won't be forgotten.

cytoranger 05/06/12 - 10:03 am
My heart truly aches for this

My heart truly aches for this family. We lost a little mancub Jakob
To an undiagnosed illness almost 5 years ago. Found our little grandson passed away in his crib after a visit to the DDEAMC doc who said he was perfectly well 3days prior. Definitely a miss on his part. Trying to beat the Fed and prove it is another story completely which will air on fox news in the near future. The loss of a child can devastate and entire family. The only thing that gets you through is love for each other, God and the knowing you have done everything you can as a parent. Papa or Gigi to care for your little ones. I pray they don't blame themselves or play the what if game that only causes the grief to eat you alive. Take strength in God and each other and know you did all you could. I lift this fsmily up everyday and ask GOD to wrap them in his keverloving arms, and in time when they need it most and it is time to wipe the sorrow from their brow and help them to move forward, not forgetting , but remembering the sparkle that was this babies gift to their lives. Remember her smile, hugs , interactions and the things she did that me you swell with pride as her parents, and love her all the more. Hanna, I never met you but your memory will be an I spiration to me for years to come. Parents, mourn. This is something you can't deny yourselves, but rejoice in the precious moments you shared . I pray you well , and wish you the best. Love poppy best, appling Ga.

Sheila Medlam
Sheila Medlam 05/07/12 - 01:42 am
To Hannah's mom and dad, I am

To Hannah's mom and dad,

I am so sorry. My five year old autistic son, Mason Allen Medlam, wandered from our home and drowned. He died July 29th, 2010, so I know exactly what you are going through. Your daughter is beautiful. I am so sorry that she isn't there for you to hold in your arms today. I am so, so sorry. If there is anything that my family can do to help your family, please let me know. You don't have to endure this tragedy alone. My family is here for yours. I wish that this hadn't happened, and I wish I could tell you this never happened before or will ever happen again, but the list of autistic children that have died from wandering and drowning is enormous and scary and I am so sorry that you have joined this horrible family of parents who have lost their children. Just know that you aren't alone.

Kenny and Sheila Medlam
Parents to the wonderful Mason Medlam, who is missed every day.

Back to Top
Search Augusta jobs