From local reports
In commemoration of the sacrifice of four armed forces chaplains during World War II, the American Legion will be observing "Religious Emphasis Week" from Feb. 1 to 7, and "Four Chaplains' Sunday" on Feb. 7.
Legion officials and clergymen are planning special programs for the observance of the 67th anniversary of the sinking of the USS Dorchester and the heroism demonstrated by the four valiant chaplains.
Area observances are planned in Williamstown and in Lowell.
"Four Chaplains Sunday" will be observed Sunday, Feb. 7, at First United Methodist Church, 438 Williams Ave., Williamstown, according to Clay Lutz, chaplain of American Legion Post 64 in Marietta. Two services will be held, with the first service to be at 9 a.m., followed by another service at 11 a.m.
There will also be a "Four Chaplains Sunday" program at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 7, at Lowell Elementary School. This program is being organized by American Legion Post 750 at Lowell.
The heroic efforts of those four men of God were credited with saving more than 200 lives. The four chaplains - Alexander D. Goode, a Jewish rabbi; John P. Washington, a Roman Catholic priest; and two Protestant ministers, the Rev. George L. Fox, a Methodist minister, and the Rev. Clark V. Poling, a Reformed Church in America minister - calmly issued life-belts to American servicemen aboard the troop transport after it was torpedoed on Feb. 3, 1943, by a German submarine in the North Atlantic.
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.
All four chaplains were posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Service Cross on Dec. 19, 1944.
Inspired by the heroic deed of these four chaplains, the American Legion marks the anniversary of their supreme sacrifice each year through special services and programs throughout the nation.
The annual observance, as part of the Legion's "Service To God and Country" program, helps bring new emphasis to the religious aspects of our American heritage and the need for continuing adherence to the basic religious concepts upon which America was founded.