Honoring the Four Chaplains 2-10-12

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Column by Jim Clark

The story of the Four Chaplains is one that everyone should know and appreciate. The four men who gave their lives that others might live is among the most inspirational war stories available.
It happened in 1943, when the four men of God were on board a ship that was torpedoed by a German sub. The ship sank rapidly, but several men were saved, some because of the efforts of the four men.
I hope you read the story on the front page today, all the way to its conclusion. The complete tale of the heroics of these men is taken from a Four Chaplains Memorial Web page, and permission to reprint the story was readily granted.
There was a ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park this past Sunday, with a small crowd in attendance on the most beautiful of February days. There were lots of people in uniform, and many in hats that said “Merchant Marine.”
One man explained that he had been coming to these ceremonies for years, and was always the only member of the Merchant Marine to attend. This year he made a concerted effort to see that others who were in that branch of the service were in attendance.
The crowd heard the speaker refer to “service, service, service” as he described a little of the sacrifices that chaplains make in their military duties, which can include work on the front lines.
The ceremony at the park was conducted near the southern sidewalk, at the scene of the plaque honoring the chaplains. Some rode by on Fort King Street in cars and on bicycles, oblivious to the touching ceremony that was being held just off the road.
This was the 12th annual memorial celebration, and there’s no reason to think that it won’t continue in the future, although the age of the attendees seems to be getting older.
The bagpipe music of “Amazing Grace” and other selections, and the bugle playing of “Assembly” and “Taps” adds to the solemnity of the occasion.
There is a slide show of the event available on our newspaper web site and, again, the complete story of the tale of the Four Chaplains starts on Page 1.
These men are worth remembering, and their sacrifices should be honored throughout the year.
Jim Clark is the editor of the South Marion Citizen. He can be reached at 352-854-3986 or at editor@smcitizen.com.