Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, persuaded the Senate recently to act to honor four chaplains whose sacrifice, he says, Americans have forgotten.
The Senate passed a resolution to declare Feb. 2 as "Four Chaplains Day" in honor of a Jewish rabbi, a Catholic priest and two Protestant ministers who died when the USS Dorchester was torpedoed and sunk on Feb. 3, 1943, off Greenland.He recounted that during the 18 minutes that the ship was sinking, the chaplains tried to comfort frightened men and lead them to safety. When no more life jackets were available, they removed their own jackets and gave them to waiting sailors.
They were last seen on the hull with their arms linked together in prayer, consoling the 700 men who remained on the ship with a final service.
The chaplains were posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. And in 1948 a postage stamp, entitled "Interfaith in Action," was issued in their memory.
"Tragically, however, the memory of their selfless acts has failed," Hatch said.