Until the day of his death, no man can be sure of his courage. — Jean Anouilh
By far one of the most compelling stories of courage from World War II unfolded at sea.
In 1943, survivors of the sinking of Army transport ship USAT Dorchester witnessed unfathomed heroism and interfaith cooperation in the face of danger.
On her way to Greenland, a German U-Boat launched a torpedo in the early morning hours of February 3rd that struck the Dorchester. When she started to take on water, pandemonium erupted as the men struggled against the list of the sinking ship to get lifeboats into the freezing, oil-slicked water. A loss of power made it impossible to signal alarms to abandon ship.
Among her 904 passengers were four Army Chaplains who managed to make it to the deck of the ship to provide comfort and aid to the panicked men. Guided by an infrangible faith when the supply of lifejackets ran out they gave up their own to save the lives of others. These courageous men were Lt George L. Fox of Lewistown, Pennsylvania, a Methodist Minister, Lt. Alexander D. Goode of Brooklyn, New York a Jewish Rabbi, Lt. Clark V. Poling of Columbus, Ohio, Dutch Reformed, and Lt. John P. Washington of Newark, New Jersey, a Roman Catholic.
2018 marks the 75th Anniversary of the sinking of the USAT Dorchester and Wreaths Across America is proud once again to join the Four Chaplains Memorial Foundation in remembering their lives and honoring them for their sacrifice.
Join Wreaths Across America Sunday, February 11th at Noon for the 2nd Annual Four Chaplains Memorial Service at the Balsam Valley Chapel in Maine. The non-denominational chapel nestled among the balsam fir trees hold replica dog tags of military veterans. In 2017 during the first annual event, the Four Chaplains Tree was dedicated as part of the Wreaths Across America Stem to Stone program.
Joining us once again this year to offer a reflection on the lives of the Four Chaplains will be CH Major David Sivret. Additionally, Cindi Sienkiewicz will share some thoughts with attendees as the granddaughter of one of the survivors of the sinking. A luncheon for veterans and others in attendance will directly follow the service.