2019-03-29 / Chaplain's News

Serving one another

Chaplain (Capt.) Ryan Lewis
297th Military Intelligence Battalion

Mosiah 2:17. And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.

The U.S. Army Chaplain Corps celebrated a significant event that happened Feb. 3, 1943. It was the anniversary of the fateful day when a German U-boat spotted the U.S. Army Transport Dorchester and sunk the converted luxury liner. The Dorchester began to sink immediately after it was hit and like many ships of that era, there were not enough life vests or rescue boats for all aboard. In the massive chaos that ensued, four chaplains helped where they could.

Survivor stories depict these religiously diverse men, one Catholic Priest, one Jewish Rabbi, one Methodist, and one Dutch Reformed Chaplain moving around the deck assisting all they could regardless of religious preference. The chaplains gave away their winter clothing, life vests, and positions on the rescue boats to save other men. The four chaplains were heard singing hymns and praying together with those stuck aboard the ship as the wreck sank. In honor of their sacrifice, Congress created and authorized the Four Chaplains Medal to be awarded posthumously to each of those men. That is the only time the medal has been awarded and there are currently no plans to make it an active award.

The four chaplains are remembered not because they saved a lot of people but because they selflessly served. In the U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School, new chaplains are indoctrinated with this story to remind them of their calling to serve all Soldiers and their families equally with dignity and respect. Each Soldier and family member needs to know there is at least one person in the military command who sees them as a human being and will love them, at times despite their choices or circumstances.

The story of the Four Chaplains reminds us that we need to serve one another regardless of race, creed, gender, or any other discriminator. We are our brothers’ keepers, and only as we love one another and serve one another can we really influence the world for good. Instead of wishing for someone else to do something to make the world a better place, we can take the fateful step today to make our own impact. It is likely our efforts will be small and probably not warrant a Wikipedia article, but by small incremental steps can great changes happen.

Today, I urge you to make a commitment to look for opportunities to serve others. If you are not in a hurry, stop for the stranded car on the side of the road and offer assistance. When someone looks unhappy, take time to not only ask if they are OK, but to listen to them. Seek opportunities to do good. We can as a collective do so much good through small thoughtful interactions every day. By doing so, we not only serve each other, but also serve God.

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