Every year on the first Sunday in February our Yorktown American Legion Post gathers to educate our community on the Four Immortal Chaplains of World War II. Veterans, clergy, school children, Scouts, and members of the community join us in our Hall as we tell the heroic story of these four men of faith. For the past several years we have been fortunate to have four prominent members of the clergy join us for this ceremony and stand in to light a candle for each of these chaplains. This service and story has moved many people to return each year to honor these men. During the 2021 COVID shutdown our Post could not let this ceremony ‘stop’ due to the pandemic and we created a video version of the ceremony filmed safely in sections with participants recording their parts remotely at different times.
The Story of the Four Chaplains
It was in January, 1943 that an American troopship, the S.S. Dorchester, was being loaded at a Massachusetts port. It was the darkest hour just before dawn, and the troopship was looking her absolute worst. She was an underprivileged ship. But in this time of crisis everything that could float was being pressed into service. Soldiers, very young and confused for the most part, looked and felt as if they were being cheated when they struggled up the gangplank.