LaBelle’s annual Four Chaplain’s service will be held at Veteran’s Park, across from the Hendry County Courthouse, at 3 p.m. on Sunday, February 12. The recognition of the sacrifice made by the heroic Chaplains at the beginning of World War II, this year will include an acknowledgement of Religious Ideals Week.
In years past the Four Chaplains Memorial Service has been held in a local church sanctuary. Now that the Veterans Park has been completed the service has been moved to the outdoor venue. As usual, the service is open for everyone whether or not they have a military background. The Park honors local veterans for their service and is a memorial for all who died protecting our freedoms.
Phillip Keyes, the originator of LaBelle’s annual Four Chaplains observance, is this year’s coordinator for the program. He expressed delight that the American Legion’s “Religious Ideals Week” observation is also being included.
“It becomes an opportunity for all of us to demonstrate our patriotism by honoring our heroes, as well as giving recognition the principals upon which our nation was founded,” he said.
LaBelle’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10100, the American Legion Post, the Disabled American Veterans, the LaBelle Masonic Lodge No 379, F&AM, and the Hendry County Sheriff’s Explorers are expected to be among the organizations participating.
The Four Chaplains went down with a troop ship that was struck by a U-boat torpedo, early in February, 1941. The brave Chaplains quickly reacted by calming the panic, launching lifeboats, reassuring the young men, offering prayers for their quick rescue, and leading the men in singing Hymns as they entered the lifeboats. The Chaplains gave up their reserved seats in the boats to others, and also removed their own life jackets and gave them to men who had lost theirs.
At the Park, there will be literature available from all the organizations as well as information about the Chapel of the Four Chaplains in the Philadelphia Naval Yard.