When the four chaplains on the sinking SS Dorchester, on Feb. 3, 1943, gave away their life jackets to other soldiers, they knew what their own fates would be.
Dozens of residents gathered on Feb. 3, 2024, to remember the four chaplains' sacrifice, in the annual ceremony led by American Legion Post 115, hosted by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8696, in Palm Coast.
Mayor David Alfin praised the attendees, many of whom were veterans, for their own reverence and commitment to their country.
Photographs and candles were displayed for the four chaplains: Methodist minister the Rev. George L. Fox, Reform Rabbi Alexander D. Goode, Catholic priest Father John P. Washington, and Reformed Church in America minister the Rev. Clark V. Poling.
“When you’re called, you respond, and you seek to be faithful,” keynote speaker Chaplain Harry Gilman said to the Palm Coast audience. “These men did something magnificent, which required very little thought. If they thought too much, they would have started to think about themselves. In this situation, they did what needed to be done.”
Among those participating in the ceremony were past commanders Joe Pepin and Dave Hammond, Chaplain Rev. Dr. Ophelia Beier, Sgt.-at-Arms Edward Beier and Joe Licata, Coastal Florida Police Fire Pipes and Drums, Flagler County Commissioners Andrew Dance and Dave Sullivan, Mayor David Alfin, Palm Coast City Council member Cathy Heighter, musicians Kermit Allison and Katya Feldman, Adjutant Gary Owens, Chaplain Harry Gilman, Honor Guard member Patrick Hartnett, Rev. Terry Wines, Rabbi Rose Eberle, Father Jose Panthaplamthottiyil, Chaplain John Johnston and past chaplain Ken Wall.