The American Legion James E. Marshall Post 187 sponsored the Four Chaplains Memorial Service on February 17, at 6:00 p.m. at the Winfield Presbyterian Church. Post 187 started this service back in 2011 when Dan Chandler had the vision to put together a special service to remember what took place on February 3, 1943, in the North Atlantic. The U.S. Army Transport Dorchester was sunk by a German U-boat with 902 on board, killing 672.
Four Army Chaplains brought hope in despair and light in darkness. Chaplains George Fox (Methodist), Alexander Goode (Jewish), Clark Poling (Dutch Reformed) and John Washington (Roman Catholic) comforted the wounded, directed others to lifeboats, and gave out lifejackets. When the lifejackets ran out, they removed their lifejackets and gave them to four young men. As the USAT Dorchester sank, the four chaplains were seen linked arm in arm, praying.
Due to covid-19 restrictions, the service held last Thursday was not open to the public. In the future, Post 187 hopes to be able to return to a public program with a covered dish dinner after the service. The service was live streamed and is on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AMLegionpost187
During the Four Chaplains Memorial Service, Charles Cook and Jim McDade posted the colors. David Bush gave the invocation, and Delbert Brannon gave introductory remarks. Curtis Grant spoke on the Saga of the Four Chaplains. There was a candle lighting for each of the Four Chaplains, and their biographies were read by Kenny Bright, David Boyles, Arnie Harrison and Herk Nicely. Jim Cole read a poem called “Four Special Chaplains,” and Bill Cain played Taps.
The members of Post 187 are still here to remember what took place 79 years ago on February 3, 1943. As George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat.” Let us continue to remember!