By Chip Snyder PIO, American Legion Post 370
Highlands Mayor Pat Taylor and the Highlands American Legion Post 370 held a service at Veterans Plaza on Feb. 3 to commemorate the sacrifice of four armed forces chaplains during World War II.
Highlands Mayor Pat Taylor honored this day by declaring February 3 as the official Four Chaplains Day in Highlands.
Post Commander Ed McCloskey read a brief recitation of the events that took place on that day in 1943.
Post members Zach Claxton, Ken Knight, Bill Edwards, and Chip Snyder then read a story outlining the individual contributions each chaplain made in saving the lives of others on this tragic day in World War II history.
The four chaplain’s represented various faiths including a Jewish Rabbi, a Roman Catholic priest, and two Protestant ministers.
The chaplains issued life-belts to American servicemen aboard the troop transport after it was torpedoed on Feb. 3, 1943.
When the supply of life preservers was exhausted, the four chaplains removed their own life belts and gave them to four soldiers and then stood calmly on the sinking ship, their arms around one another’s shoulders, and their heads bowed in prayer.
Their efforts were credited with saving more than 200 lives.
Inspired by the four chaplains, over 900 American Legion Posts across the country mark the anniversary of their sacrifice through special services and programs.
This annual observance is part of the Legion’s “Service to God and Country” program.