By Becky Hold, Okemah Chapter DAR Vice-Regent and Publicity Chairman
The Okemah Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution met Tuesday, Nov. 21, for their regular monthly meeting. The tables were beautifully decorated with a Thanksgiving theme by the hostesses, Ann Jackson and Sheldon Starr.
After Regent Velda Bradley led the chapter in the opening ritual, Vice-Regent Rebecca Hold presented the inspirational program, “The Story of the Four Chaplains.”
During World War II in 1943 the US Transport Ship Dorchester was pushing through the North Atlantic waters with 902 American servicemen aboard bound for Greenland. She came close to her destination, but did not make it because a Nazi submarine torpedoed its hull and exploded in its boiler room. Many of the soldiers and sailors died instantly, and four US Army Chaplains helped calm the frightened men, distributed life jackets, and directed them to life boats. Soon the supply of life jackets was exhausted, and there were four young soldiers left without them. Quickly the four Chaplains—Protestant Ministers, Clark Poling and George Fox; a Catholic Priest, John Washington; and a Jewish Rabbi, Alexander Goode–gave up their own life jackets and forced the four young men to take them. It didn’t matter to them what faith the men were, the four human beings were in desperate need. The men, rowing away from the sinking ship, saw the four heroic Chaplains clinging to each other, heads bowed, on the slanting deck of the Dorchester as it sank beneath the icy waters carrying with it the four Chaplains and 668 soldiers and sailors.
On Feb. 3, 1951, President Harry S. Truman dedicated The Chapel of the Four Chaplains to preserve the memory of the Four Chaplains and to preserve their message, “for those who really care here is the message, the Chapel of the Four Chaplains is a sanctuary for brotherhood.” There three altars, Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant, proclaim the unity of all Americans under one God. The irreducible minimum for adequate defense of America is American unity. Not uniformity, unity–all races and faiths, all colors and all economic degrees, living together and working together. The Four Chaplains of three faiths who stood united in prayer as they went down on the Dorchester, symbolize for all Americans for all times the unity of this nation founded upon the fatherhood of one God, with children of different faiths and many races.
The DAR members eagerly reported on their Veterans Day activities by telling of their visits to area nursing homes and participation in veteran programs. All felt that our participation in these endeavors was richly rewarding and appreciated by the many veterans we touched.
Regent Bradley announced our chapter will be decorating the tables at one of the banquets at the OKDAR State Convention in April, and we will be hosting the hospitality room for two evenings. She presented many ideas we might use for both table decorations and refreshments.
The next meeting will be Tuesday, Jan. 16, at Pepino’s Mexican Restaurant in Okemah. Hostesses will be June Yahola and Geneva Bertges, and Theo Crawley will present the program. Members are reminded to bring gifts for veterans, and prospective members are welcome to attend.
Members present were Susan Barnett, Velda Bradley, Dorothy Burden, Mary June Cashman, Judith Drennan, Lucretia Harkey, Rebecca Hold, Gene Meredith, Judy Williams, Elizabeth Goedde, June Yahola, guest Pam Farrell, and the hostesses, Sheldon Starr and Ann Jackson.