Gannon to Host Interfaith Memorial Service Honoring The Four Chaplains
Posted: January 30, 2015
One of the most heroic and inspiring acts of World War II will
be commemorated on its 71st anniversary by a ceremony at Gannon
University on Tuesday, Feb. 3 at 2 p.m. in the Yehl Alumni Room in
the Waldron Campus Center, 124 W. Seventh St.
The ceremony is an interfaith memorial service honoring the Four
Chaplains, Lt. George L. Fox, Methodist; Lt. Alexander D. Goode,
Jewish; Lt. John P. Washington, Roman Catholic; and Lt. Clark V.
Poling, Dutch Reformed.
The four United States Army chaplains uttered prayers of
serenity for the soldiers as the troop ship USAT Dorchester sank on
February 3, 1943. As lifejackets grew scarce, the chaplains were
seen removing their own and handing them to soldiers. Onlookers,
who managed to find safety last saw the chaplains linked
arm-in-arm, praying as they went down with the ship.
A hero from a later conflict, Medal of Honor Recipient, Gary
Beikirch, will be the keynote speaker at the ceremony.
As a Special Forces medical aidman at Camp Dak Seang, Vietnam in
1970, Sgt. Beikirch, with complete disregard for his personal
safety, moved through enemy fire to his fallen comrades, applied
first aid to their wounds and assisted them to the medical aid
station, ignoring his own serious injuries and refusing treatment
as he continued his search for other casualties until he collapsed.
Beikirch, a native of Rochester, N.Y., was awarded the
Congressional Medal of Honor in 1973.
"The Four Chaplains Interfaith Memorial Service provides our
faith-based community the perfect time to come together, regardless
of religious preference, to recognize the sacrifice that so many
veterans have made in order to preserve our way of life and to
protect all of our freedoms, not just the freedom of religion,"
said Army Lt. Col. Daniel T. Rempfer, professor of military
The University will bring together five local Junior ROTC
programs, members of its own Pride of PA ROTC Battalion, Veterans
from Gannon and surrounding local colleges and universities,
members of local American Legions and VFW posts and participants in
the Music for Veterans project. The public is encouraged to
For more information about The Four Chaplains Interfaith
Memorial Service, please contact Ron Swift at (814) 871-7483 or