Skip to main content

Rev. George L. Fox, Methodist
Rabbi Alexander D. Goode, Jewish
Rev. John P. Washington, Cathoiic
Rev. Clark V. Poling, Reformed Church of America

the location was aboard a ship, the US Army Tranport Dorchester

Fox was from Lewistown PA
Goode was from Brooklyn NY
Poling was from Columbus OH
Washington was from Newark NJ

All were first Lieutenants and chaplains in the US Army
They had met while preparing for their roles in the European theater at Harvard University

And on this day, 70 years ago in 1943, they died arm in arm as their ship, having been torpedoed, sank.  They prayed together, they sang together.

There were not enough life jackets for all on board.
Each of the chaplains gave up his life jacket to someone else,
They helped as many as they could into the lifeboats.

Without hesitation they gave their lives so others might live.

We often wonder about the role of chaplains in war.  Some criticize, as during Vietnam singer Eric Burden offered the a criticism in "Sky Pilot."

Some wonder about religious figures blessing and comforting those who kill in the name of their nation, or comfort those about to die.

Like medics, they do not carry weapons even as they go into harm's way where they themselves are at risk.

Some simply do not like religion or religious figures.

I am of a different opinion, perhaps because I have friends who have served as military chaplains.  Despite my current self-definition in a religious tradition without ordained clergy respectful of the role they play, as my wife and I experienced with her parish priest during her time in hospital (and yes, we are now home).

I remember the Biblical line that no greater love hath a man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

The Four Chaplains did not know those to whom they gave up their life vests.  They only knew they were scared young men without vests, and they did not hesitate.

They served.

They loved in the best sense of the word.

Despite their religious differences, they prayed together - those going away on the lifeboats heard English, Latin and Hebrew.

Four men who were and are, at least to me, a model of service.

George L. Fox, Alexander D. Goode, Clark V. Poling, John P. Washington

Brothers in service, and this day in 1943, in quiet death.

I honor their memory.


Originally posted to teacherken on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 06:05 AM PST.

Also republished by Military Community Members of Daily Kos, Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA), DKos Military Veterans, and WE NEVER FORGET.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Constantine, KeithH, PrahaPartizan, Upper West, MadRuth, ogre, Powered Grace, Shockwave, bethcf4p, Radical Faith, Theodoric of York Medieval Liberal, flurdman, BlackSheep1, whenwego, farmerhunt, roses, oneworld, Texknight, Mxwll, liz dexic, white blitz, HeyMikey, lcrp, zerelda, randallt, Emmy, maybeeso in michigan, NoMoreLies, Ckntfld, JanetT in MD, subtropolis, Independent Musings, vgranucci, offred, Gordon20024, Ice Blue, markdd, Oye Sancho, fhcec, xaxnar, Born in NOLA, third Party please, irishwitch, Yellow Canary, ER Doc, NancyWH, leighkidd, One Pissed Off Liberal, asilomar, Cronesense, Habitat Vic, LSophia, Dave in Northridge, US Blues, bobswern, pioneer111, Chico David RN, gizmo59, Mighty Ike, Amor Y Risa, HappyinNM, Chacounne, Sixty Something, tofumagoo, mofembot, DixieDishrag, JamieG from Md, Justanothernyer, savano66, rudewarrior, Dirtandiron, greengemini, Nebraskablue, janmtairy, Fineena, DefendOurConstitution, moonbatlulu, geebeebee, papahaha, kevinpdx, stevenwag, DaNang65, vtgal, politik, jakedog42, pixxer, ramara, ThirtyFiveUp, ban48, Betty Pinson, leu2500, petesmom, Oh Mary Oh, nosleep4u, Glass Navel, slowbutsure, iambic pentameter, mujr, lillyspad, marleycat, Ricochet67, quarkstomper, stevie avebury, Vatexia, zenox, DRo, Laurel in CA, anodnhajo, isabelle hayes, We Won, a2nite, congenitalefty, JupiterSurf, rat racer, brook, ShoshannaD, Stills, MsTribble, Lily O Lady, JayRaye, glorificus, motherlu, aresea, howabout, helpImdrowning, blue91, pragmaticidealist, Toymaker, sparkysgal, TheDuckManCometh, drnatrl

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site