Remember the four chaplains
To the Editor
On Feb. 3, 1943, the Army transport ship Dorchester was torpedoed by a German U-boat while crossing the icy North Atlantic in a convoy. Of the 902 soldiers, merchant seamen and civilian workers aboard, only 230 were rescued. The fact that even that many survived is, in part, because of the level heads and steady hands of Lts. George Fox, Alexander Goode, Clark Poling and John Washington.
As Dorchester slid beneath the waves, the four Army chaplains calmed frightened men and led as many as they could to safety. When they ran out of life jackets, they gave away their own. Those swimming in the water and floating in rafts never forgot their last glimpse of the chaplains: all four — Methodist minister, Jewish rabbi, Reformed Church in America reverend and Roman Catholic priest — were linked arm in arm, praying and singing hymns as the went down with the ship.
For a nation at war, the chaplains’ triumph in the face of tragedy became an enduring example of faith, courage, selflessness and sacrificial love. In 1988, Congress designated Feb. 3 as “Four Chaplains Day.”
(Taken from an article by Daniel M. Dellinger, past National Commander of the American Legion)
American Legion Post 191