Feb. 7 to be ‘Four Chaplains Sunday’ in county

Staff reports

Paul H. Hughey, American Legion Post No. 25 will join other legionnaires around the nation commemorating the 73rd anniversary of the remarkable story of “Four Chaplains,” who gave their lives to save others during World War II.

On Sunday, Feb. 7, the Fayette County Honor Guard and members of all veterans’ posts in Fayette County are invited to join the officers, members, ladies auxiliary members and sons of the American Legion Post 25, to the 10:30 a.m. worship service at Sugar Creek Baptist Church, 3263 U.S. Route 35 NW in Fayette County.

The remarkable story of the Four Chaplains and their heroic act is just one of the thousands that occurred during the war, many of which remain untold. The Four Chaplains – a Jewish rabbi, a Roman Catholic priest and two Protestant ministers – calmly issued life belts to American servicemen aboard the troop transport after it was torpedoed in the early morning hours of Feb. 3, 1943, just short of its destination of Greenland. The four then gave up their own life belts so that four soldiers might have a chance to survive. Only 209 of the 904 aboard the U.S. Dorchester survived either the exploding torpedo or the sea, which claimed the ship in a matter of minutes.

Those in lifeboats had a view of the chaplains on the slanted deck, with arms linked, voices raised in prayer, as the converted freighter slid beneath the cold waters. The Four Chaplains, though of different faiths, had a common bond in their service to God and mankind. It was a service which they portrayed to the fullest in giving up their lives for another human being.

“Officers and members of other veterans’ organizations in Fayette County recognize the story of the Four Chaplains,” chairman of the Four Chaplains event, Edward Helt, said. “So it is only fitting that they are invited to join in remembrance of their sacrifice 73 years ago.”

According to Helt, visiting a different church in the community each year has been part of the local commemoration since 1981. American Legion Post 25 commander David Fredrick encourages the attendance of all those invited for this special event. Sugar Creek Baptist Church minister, Michael Henry, said he is looking forward to the visit by our local veterans.

Additionally, on Tuesday, Jan. 19 at 1:30 p.m., the Fayette County Commissioners will be presenting a proclamation declaring Feb. 7 as “Four Chaplains Sunday” in Fayette County.

Staff reports