The Four Chaplains: ‘The Calm in the Chaos’
The Four Chaplains, part of the Murals of York program operated by the York County Heritage Trust, is one of 18 large panels on the side of buildings in York. For additional details on this panel, see Murals of York .
The legacy of the Four Chaplains lives on.
First, Newsweek used the heroic sacrifice by the four World War II chaplains as part of its lead-in to a story on the military chaplaincy. The magazine ran a postage stamp depicting York Rabbi Alexander D. Goode and his three colleagues who gave up their lifevests and seats on life boats to their fellow men in uniform and went down with the S.S. Dorchester in 1943.
An article headlined ‘Chaplains: The Calm in the Chaos’ stated: …
‘On a frigid night in 1943, the U.S. transport ship Dorchester was sailing near Greenland when it was hit by a torpedo from a German sub. Among the dead were four chaplains — two Protestants, a Catholic and a Jew — who gave their own life jackets to men on deck. They could be heard praying together as the massive ship slipped under water, and their sacrifice and compassion became the stuff of legend.’
Then comes a York Daily Record story previewing the annual Four Chaplains Prayer Breakfast in York.
The story noted this about the principal award recipient at the annual York gathering:
Henrietta Cook has the type of resume that would make Gandhi or Mother Teresa proud. She has given a lifetime of service to her family, friends and community. And on May 9, she will be honored for her service at the 15th Annual Four Chaplains Prayer Breakfast.
The legacy of the chaplains, indeed, lives on.
I’ve written before that York County, like many local areas, has a tendency to anoint heroes when they aren’t so. In Alexander D. Goode, York County can boast of a real hero whose selfless actions make him so.