The Turnbow-Higgs American Legion Post and Auxiliary Unit 240 will present its annual Four Chaplains Memorial Service from 2-3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 3, at American Legion Hall.
The Four Chaplains, sometimes referred to as the “Immortal Chaplains” or the “Dorchester Chaplains” were four United States Army chaplains who gave their lives to save civilian and military personnel as the troop ship SS Dorchester sank on Feb. 3. 1943 during World War II.
They helped soldiers board lifeboats and gave up their own lifejackets when the supply ran out. Each of the chaplains were from different denominations but the chaplains still joined arms, said prayers and sang hymns as they went down with the ship.
“The American Legion Auxiliary Unit traditionally has put on a memorial service throughout the nation on Four Chaplains Day which is the first Sunday of every February,” said historian and honorary Post 240 life member Roger Easter.
According to alaforveterans.wordpress.com the memorial service has been held at the Legion Hall since 2000. Easter said he only knows of one year when the memorial service was cancelled because of an ice storm.
“We go through a memorial service where one of our Auxiliary ladies will get up and tell the story first and then students will perform the memorial service by lighting candles and give a biography of each one of the four chaplains and that program goes on and closes with our honor guard member playing Taps with a bugle. Then, the Auxiliary Ladies Chaplain will close the ceremony with a prayer and the president of our Auxiliary Ladies will present each one of the high school students with a certificate of appreciation for attending,” Easter said.
The service will last about 30-45 minutes. Punch and cookies will also be served. At the end of the program, a Henderson Junior High School student will sing Amazing Grace.
“I’ve been involved with [the memorial service] and setting up the hall for a number of years,” Easter said. “I always find it very emotional when we do put on the program.”