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06/13/2021 10:25 PM
Pennsylvania State Senate
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=S&SPick=20210&cosponId=34238
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: January 19, 2021 12:57 PM
From: Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill
To: All Senate members
Subject: “Four Chaplains Day” in Pennsylvania
 
In the near future, I will introduce a resolution designating February 3, 2021, as "Four Chaplains Day" in Pennsylvania to recognize and honor enduring examples of extraordinary faith, courage and selflessness.
 
Lt. George Fox (Methodist), Lt. Alexander Goode (Jewish), Lt. John Washington (Roman Catholic), and Lt. Clark Poling (Dutch Reformed) were serving in World War II when their troop transport, carrying 900 soldiers to a base in Greenland, was struck by a German torpedo just after midnight on February 3, 1943. 100 men were killed instantly, and the ship lost communications and power. The remaining troops rushed to crowded lifeboats. The four Chaplains quickly and quietly spread out to tend the wounded, comfort the dying, and encourage the living, guiding them to lifeboats in the dark.  When there were no more lifejackets in the storage locker, all four gave up their own life jackets to men who had none, sacrificing their lives to save their fellow soldiers. As the ship went down, survivors in nearby rafts could see the four chaplains, arms linked and braced against the slanting deck, and hear them offering prayers.  They were not among the 230 survivors rescued by nearby ships.
 
That night Reverend Fox, Rabbi Goode, Reverend Poling and Father Washington passed life’s ultimate test.  In doing so, they became enduring examples of extraordinary faith, courage and selflessness.

The chaplains were posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Distinguished Service Cross, but were technically ineligible for the Medal of Honor. Congress, wishing to honor their service, authorized a one-time Special Medal for Heroism that was awarded posthumously to their next of kin in 1961.

Today, the Four Chaplains Memorial Foundation of Philadelphia honors their legacy by recognizing unconditional acts of service performed by citizens for their communities.  Rabbi Goode spent the final years of his life in York County, where an elementary school in the York City School District proudly bears his name to honor his valor and sacrifice.

I hope you will join me in co-sponsoring this resolution.



Introduced as SR22