February 3 is honored as “FOUR CHAPLAINS DAY.”
Never heard of it? It’s a fascinating story that needs to be told and shared.
In the early morning hours of February 3, 1943 the U.S.A.T. Dorchester–packed with 902 servicemen–was hit by a Nazi torpedo.
The surprise attack killed several soldiers and trapped dozens of others. The ship quickly began to sink in the icy waters off Greenland and every man was for himself. Chaos abounded.
Two Coast Guard ships rushed to area and began to pluck drowning soldiers from the frigid waters.
Meanwhile, on board the sinking ship, four chaplains–a Methodist, a Roman Catholic, a Dutch Reformed and a Jew–consoled the panicked sailors desperate to board a life boat.
With no more life jackets available, these four chaplains tore off their own and gave them away.
When the chaplains had saved as many men as they could, eyewitnesses in the life boats observed how these four religious leaders linked arms, prayed, quoted Scripture and sank with the ship.
The U.S.A.T. Dorchester went down in 27 minutes. The chaplains had no chance of survival without life vests. Only 231 men survived that tragic icy North Atlantic moment.
In 1998, the U.S. Congress designated February 3 as “Four Chaplains Day.”
It’s a day to honor the bravery, service and sacrifice of all U.S. military chaplains, and to remember the sacrifice and service of Lt. George L. Fox, Lt. Clark V. Poling, Lt. John P. Washington and Lt. Alexander D. Goode.
On that night all give some, but some–including four chaplains from different faiths–give all.