Jewish Chaplain honored at Arlington
In case you are unfamiliar with the story, the DoD did a pretty good video on it a while back:
Anyway, an update to the story comes from CNN today:
Standing atop the USAT Dorchester after it had been hit with a German torpedo, four "immortal chaplains" handed out life jackets as the ship sank into the dark Atlantic Ocean on February 3, 1943.
After giving their own life jackets to soldiers, the four chaplains linked arms and began to pray. The men stood together as the lifeboats drifted away; they were last seen singing as the ship began to slip into the horizon.
Three of those chaplains - the Rev. George L. Fox, the Rev. Clark V. Poling, both Protestants, and the Rev. John P. Washington, a Catholic - were memorialized on both their faiths' plaques and the World War II plaque atop Chaplains Hill in Washington's Arlington National Cemetery.
Though the fourth chaplain, Rabbi Alexander D. Goode, was memorialized on the hill's World War II memorial, there was no memorial to Goode's faith, Judaism.
On Monday, Goode and 13 other Jewish chaplains joined their interfaith brethren atop the hill at the unveiling and dedication of the Jewish Chaplains Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.
Of course, The American Legion honors these men annually on Four Chaplains Day, February 3, and thus it is fitting that even this memorial has a Legion tie-in.
As a member of the American Legion, Kenneth Kraetzer visited Chaplains Hill in 2007 and, in looking for the names of the four chaplains on the Dorchester, was struck by the fact that Jewish chaplains were not memorialized. In his speech at the dedication, Kraetzer said that after noticing the "oversight," he wanted to "bring attention to the service of all military chaplains."
He worked with the Jewish Welfare Board's Jewish Chaplains Council, a service of the Jewish Community Centers Association, as well as the George Washington Institute of Religious Freedom and philanthropist Sol Moglen, who helped raise money for the memorial.
I’ve always loved the story of the Four Chaplains, especially for the spirit of camaraderie that they embody, and the selfless act that brought that brotherhood such acclaim. This Memorial is long overdue.