November is the traditional month of remembrance, but for some of us February is just as important.
In February 1943, 70 years ago, the American troop ship Dorchester was torpedoed in the North Atlantic. Roughly 700 of the more than 900 aboard perished, including four chaplains, one Jewish, one Catholic and two Protestant.
There was panic on the decks of the Dorchester as soldiers desperately scrambled for life preservers. The four chaplains tried to calm the soldiers and in the end gave their own life jackets to men without them.
The action of the four chaplains has been called one of greatest acts of heroism of World War Two.
One of the Protestant chaplains was Captain Clark Poling of the Dutch Reformed Church. He was the seventh generation of Poling ministers and his father was the Rev. Daniel Poling, editor of the Christian Herald.
Decades ago the U.S. issued a stamp commemorating the heroism of the chaplains. A chapel in Philadelphia was dedicated to them.
Time, however, slowly buries remembrances. The story of the Four Chaplains is unknown now to most people.
This week the Los Angeles Times helped to keep the story of the Four Chaplains alive. It’s recollection of the Dorchester sinking can be found at: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-four-chaplains-20130211,0,3355001.story