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Wednesday, February 3, 2016
For All the Saints: The Four Chaplains
On the Episcopal calendar, the Four Chaplains are honored today, the anniversary of their deaths in 1943 when their ship, the SS Dorchester, was torpedoed by a German sub and sunk. Rev. George Fox was a Methodist Minister, Rev. John P. Washington was a Catholic priest, Dr. Alexander D. Goode was a Reform rabbi, and Rev. Clark V. Pooling was a Reformed Church minister. As the ship sank, they assisted soldiers in boarding lifeboats and gave their own life jackets to soldiers. They prayed for the men and sang hymns together, their arms joined, and went down with the ship. Most of the 904 persons on board did not survive.
As this site indicates, the four chaplains are honored in numerous ways, including the 1948 postage stamp pictured here. I first learned of the men when I was little and collected stamps, and my dad, who was a Pacific war veteran, told me the story.