Jewish chaplains finally get memorial at Arlington

Jewish chaplains finally get memorial at Arlington October 24, 2011

Details from the AP:

A memorial to 14 Jewish chaplains who died during active military service was dedicated Monday at Arlington National Cemetery, joining memorials to Protestant and Roman Catholic chaplains that had been in place for decades.

Monday’s dedication service at the cemetery corrects an oversight that had more or less gone unnoticed until a few years ago, according to those who sponsored the memorial.

“We have long awaited this day where we can recognize the crucial work and bravery of Jewish chaplains who have died in service to our country,” said Jerry Silverman, president of The Jewish Federations of North America, one of the agencies that took the lead in organizing and sponsoring the privately funded memorial.

Before Monday’s dedication, three plaques stood on the cemetery’s “Chaplain Hill.” The first was dedicated in 1926 to all chaplains who died in World War I. A second memorial was built in 1981 to honor 134 Protestant chaplains who died in World Wars I and II. And a third was built in 1989 to memorialize 83 Catholic chaplains who died in in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

The Jewish memorial lists the names of 14 Jewish chaplains who died while on active duty between 1943 and 1974.

Among those who attended Monday’s dedication was Alex Fried, 41, of Glen Rock., N.J., grandson of Alexander D. Goode, an Army lieutenant. Goode was one of four chaplains who died aboard the transport ship Dorchester, which was sunk by a German torpedo off the coast of Greenland.

Goode was one of the famed “Four Chaplains” aboard the Dorchester, all of whom gave up their own life jackets to other soldiers on the ship. The last anyone saw of the four, they were standing on the ship’s deck, arms locked and praying together.

Fried has been promoting the legacy of the Four Chaplains as an example of interfaith cooperation and goodwill. Monday’s dedication marked the first time he was able to meet the families of the other Jewish chaplains who died in service of their country.

“You share that sense of pride, but also of loss,” Fried said. “There’s always that sense of, ‘What would our lives have been like if they were in them?'”

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