Jewish Chaplain Monument Joins Others at Arlington

Tuesday, 25 Oct 2011 04:23 PM

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A monument honoring Jewish chaplains who died while serving in the military has been placed on Chaplains Hill in Arlington National Cemetery. The monument joins one built in 1981 to honor 134 Protestant chaplains who died while in service and another that was put up in 1989 to salute 83 Catholic chaplains, The Washington Post reported.

Jewish, chaplains, veterans
Jewish veterans gather at the new memorial to Jewish chaplains at Arlington National Cemetery. (Getty Images Photo)
Fourteen Jewish chaplains have died while serving in the military, including Rabbi Alexander Goode, 32, who, along with three other chaplains, helped troops into lifeboats after a German torpedo struck the USS Dorchester in 1943. The four chaplains gave their life vests to the troops, who didn’t have them, and stayed aboard, locking arms and singing a hymn as the ship sank, the Post reported.

“It only took 20 minutes for the ship to go down,” Army Staff Sgt. Ernie Heaton, one of the few remaining survivors, told the Post at the Arlington ceremony. “Men were screaming, and I saw the chaplains. They were together, and they didn’t have their life preservers on,” said Heaton, who spent nine hours in the water before he was rescued.

The four are known as the Immortal Chaplains. In addition to Goode, they include the Revs. George Fox, a Methodist; Clark Poling of the Reformed Church in America; and John Washington, a Catholic, the Post reported.

The first monument honoring chaplains was placed at Arlington in 1926. Speaking of the lack of a monument to Jewish chaplains, Jerry Silverman, president and chief executive of the Jewish Federation of North America, told the Post, “I think it was purely an oversight, but once they realized it, the House and the Senate moved quickly.”


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