Write Again … Eighty years ago this month

Published 4:48 pm Wednesday, February 8, 2023

In the February issue of my American Legion magazine there is a short piece titled “An Eagle Scout’s Dorchester Connection.”

Let me, mostly verbatim, share the story with you. First, though, let me tell you it’s about the four chaplains, who after the ship they were on, headed to the war zone, was torpedoed.

Tragically, inexcusably, there were insufficient life jackets or space in life boats for all aboard the ship.

The story of the Four Chaplains I have known just about my entire adult life, as perhaps have some of you have as well.

Here now, is the story:

For his Eagle Scout project, Gregory Voce of Troop 97 wanted to revive local awareness about the Four Chaplains, and honor the 674 men who died when USAT Dorchester sank in the North Atlantic 80 years ago this month. Among those lost was Voce’s great-grandfather, Frank Voce.

In 2021, Voce met with officers at the American Legion Post in New City, NY, where his late grandfather was a member.

With the post’s support he raised over $4,000 to do landscape work and install an outdoor plaque describing how Army Lieutenants Alexander Goode (Jewish rabbi), George Fox (Methodist minister), Clark Poling (Dutch Reformed minister) and John Washington (Roman Catholic priest) gave up their life jackets to save others.

” A lot of people have told me they’d never heard the story, and that was one of my goals: to educate the community,” Voce said. “I think it’s serving its purpose.”

Indeed. This story needs to be told to each generation. It’s an example of ‘No greater love hath any man, that he lay down his life for another’

While that may not be a precise word for word quote, the meaning is the same, and powerfully poignant.

It is, truly, an example of the indomitable grandeur of the human spirit. As such, it should give each of us a measure of hopefulness.

This column may be a bit short, but nothing more need be said.

To all of you, Shalom.