PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The National Museum of American Jewish History honored 14 fallen Jewish US military chaplains during a commemorative program today and unveiled a special plaque honoring their service.
The chaplains served their country in World War II, in Cold War conflicts, and during the Vietnam era.
Today, Jewish war veterans and their families gathered for the occasion and to view the memorial plaque, which will be placed later this month on Chaplain’s Hill at Arlington National Cemetery.
Dan Ocko, a board member of the Four Chaplains Memorial Foundation, says the memorial offers everyone the opportunity to reflect on more than just the ultimate price the chaplains paid for their country.
“We should celebrate. We should remember. We should honor these 14 chaplains, not only for their mortal sacrifice or how they died, but in how they lived, in how they served, and how they comforted men and women in harm’s way,” he said.
Ocko says Rabbi Alexander Goode — the first name on the plaque — and three other military chaplains of different faiths were on board the troop carrier Dorchester when it was torpedoed in 1943. Ocko says survivors’ accounts describe how the men, later to become known as “The Four Chaplains,” handed out life jackets, then stood together and prayed one last time before going down with the ship.
Reported by Mark Abrams, KYW Newsradio 1060