Have you heard the story of the Four Chaplains? Being that today is Four Chaplains Day, please take two minutes to read this remarkable story of heroism.
Humanity was in the throes of World War II when in the early hours of 3 February 1943 a torpedo from a German submarine, U-223, hit the Dorchester, an armed troop transport carrying more than 900 men. The ship started sinking quickly amidst ammonia and fuel oil in the freezing waters 100 miles off the coast of Greenland.
Among the first on deck were four chaplains: Father John Washington (Catholic), Reverend Clark Poling (Dutch Reformed), Rabbi Alexander Goode (Jewish), and Reverend George Fox (Methodist). Having handed out every life jacket, they took off their own and gave them to other men seeking to escape the fast sinking ship.
In about 18 minutes the Dorchester sunk. Witnesses saw the four chaplains standing arm-in-arm on the hull of the ship as it submerged, praying for the safety of the men in their charge.
Coast Guard Cutters Comanche and Escanaba violated orders and searched for survivors, eventually rescuing 230 men. The four chaplains were not among them.
Dan Kurzman tells this story movingly in his wonderful book No Greater Glory – The Four Immortal Chaplains and the Sinking of the Dorchester in World War II.
Working in memory of the Four Chaplains, my colleagues, Father Christopher Allen and Dr. Bryan Dove, and I seek to serve our nation’s veterans and their families through A HIGHER CALLING – Chaplains for Veterans . By calling toll-free, (800) 80-VETS-4 [800-808-3874] those who have served can speak with a chaplain round-the-clock regardless of the branch in which they served, whether they were wounded or disabled, what type of discharge they received, or if they have a religious affiliation.
Please honor the memory of the Four Chaplains by supporting our work. Any amount will help and be appreciated. Become an active partner in tending to the spiritual and emotional care of our veterans and their family members by contributing a minimum of $18 per month, the cost to help one veteran. Enlist in A HIGHER CALLING – Chaplains for Veterans Active Duty Program and join with us in helping veterans secure a share of the American dream they fought to preserve. Donate here.
© 2014, Kevin S. Bemel, All Rights Reserved