Wreaths Across America Honors “The Four Chaplains”

On Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024, national nonprofit Wreaths Across America will pay tribute to the indomitable spirit of American heroes, ‘The Four Chaplains,’ and commemorate the bravery displayed during the U.S.A.T. Dorchester incident. Join us for a special Facebook live event at noon EST, broadcasting from the serene Balsam Valley Chapel and tip lands in Downeast Maine.

Embarking on a coastal passenger steamship requisitioned for wartime use, the U.S.A.T. Dorchester sailed from New York harbor to Greenland on January 23, 1943, carrying over 900 officers, service members, and civilian workers. Tragically, the ship met its fate on February 3, 1943, when torpedoed by a German U-boat (U-233) in the Labrador Sea. As the ship sank, 675 lives were lost. Amidst the chaos, four chaplains—Lt. George L. Fox (Methodist), Lt. Alexander D. Goode (Jewish), Lt. Clark V. Poling (Dutch Reformed), and Lt. John P. Washington (Roman Catholic)—selflessly guided trapped soldiers to escape hatches, sacrificing their life jackets to save others. Their final act was to link arms, praying and singing hymns as the Dorchester slipped beneath the waves.

This solemn ceremony will share poignant messages and stories about ‘The Four Chaplains’ and honor the memory of the U.S.A.T. Dorchester crew. We will also pay tribute to the bravery of African American Coast Guardsman Charles Walter David Jr., who, from a nearby rescue ship, jumped into icy Greenland waters to save two men from drowning and continued to rescue a total of 93 survivors from lifeboats. Sadly, 54 days later, Charles Walter David Jr. succumbed to pneumonia, stemming from his heroic acts in those frigid waters.

Join us as we come together to remember and honor these selfless individuals and the enduring spirit of courage they exemplified. 

To watch live on Facebook, or share the ceremony on Feb. 3, at noon ET, please click here. 

To listen live on Wreaths Across America Radio, click here.  

To learn more about “The Four Chaplains,” view this video. 

To learn more and to download pictures of the Four Chaplains and the U.S.A.T. Dorchester, follow this link.

Follow this link to learn more about Coast Guardsman Charles Walter David Jr.

For $17, you can help sponsor the year-long efforts of Wreaths Across America and, at the same time, raise funds for the Four Chaplains Memorial Foundation which is working to teach the next generation about the service and sacrifice of these brave men. Sponsor a wreath through the Foundation’s Sponsorship Group page to support both programs: https://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/PA0520p.