Memorial Day

Memorial Day

My former pastor, Dr. David Smith shared this story in a devotional in May 2022. It is a powerful story that needs to be retold so I wanted to share it with you all this week:

Writing the Chaplain Corps History for the Army website, John Brinsfield tells the following story of “The Four Chaplains.” “It was Feb. 3, 1943, and the U.S. Army Transport Dorchester was one of three ships in a convoy, moving across the Atlantic from Newfoundland to an American base in Greenland…carrying 902 servicemen, merchant seamen and civilian workers. It was only 150 miles from its destination when shortly after midnight, an officer aboard the German submarine U2 spotted it. After identifying and targeting the ship, he gave orders to fire. The hit was decisive, striking the ship, far below the water line. The initial blast killed scores of men and seriously wounded many more…

Through the pandemonium, four men spread out among the Soldiers, calming the frightened, tending the wounded and guiding the disoriented toward safety. They were four Army chaplains, Lt. George Fox, a Methodist; Lt. Alexander Goode, a Jewish Rabbi; Lt. John Washington, a Roman Catholic Priest; and Lt. Clark Poling, a Dutch Reformed minister. Quickly and quietly, the four chaplains worked to bring calm to the men…

Once topside, the chaplains opened a storage locker and began distributing life jackets…When there were no more lifejackets in the storage room, the chaplains simultaneously removed theirs and gave them to four frightened young men… They simply gave their life jackets to the next man in line. One survivor would later say, ‘It was the finest thing I have seen or hope to see this side of heaven.’ As the ship went down, survivors in nearby rafts could see the four chaplains – arms linked and braced against the slanting deck. Their voices could also be heard offering prayers and singing hymns.

Of the 902 men aboard the U.S.A.T. Dorchester, only 230 survived. Before boarding the Dorchester back in January, Chaplain Poling had asked his father to pray for him, ‘Not for my safe return, that wouldn’t be fair. Just pray that I shall do my duty…never be a coward…and have the strength, courage and understanding of men. Just pray that I shall be adequate’” (1/28/14).

This week, we should pray that same prayer: to have strength, courage, and understanding. Let us pray we are adequate… Wow, what a testimony.

1 Peter 2:17

Honor all people, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the king.

Prayer: God, thank you for the men and women of our military and their families. We pray especially for those families who have lost a loved one during their time in the service. Amen.

Grace and peace,


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