Thursday, March 18, 2010

Four Chaplains Day

We have many holidays in the United States. One of our most "famous" holidays, which is Christian and has been adopted even by non-Christian countries, is Christmas. But we have other holidays with a religious background. Thanksgiving, as had been shown on this blog, has a religious background. (This is despite the fact that many figures today portray our country as one with no significant religious background/heritage.)

But you may not be aware that we also have a holiday dedicated to men of the cloth, Four Chaplains Day. February 3 is the day we celebrate the heroic actions of four chaplains during World War II. On February 3, 1943, the ship on which they served, Dorchester, was hit by an enemy torpedo and began to sink. There were not enough life vests for the entire compliment of crew and troops aboard, so all four chaplains gave up their vests to others on the ship. The four died in the icy waters.

We have issued a stamp honoring them. We also have several monuments honoring them:

  • The Chapel of the Four Chaplains at Temple University, dedicated by President Harry S. Truman.
  • Immortal Chaplains Memorial Sanctuary on the Queen Mary, in Long Beach, California
  • The National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. has a stained glass window depicting the men, and showing a sinking ship and a symbolic life vest in the waters before them (shown above).
  • And many others...

To learn more, see the Wikipedia post:


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