Clergy Appreciation Week


WHEREAS, on February 3, 1943 during World War II, an allied military transport ship, the U.S.A.T. Dorchester, was torpedoed by a German U-Boat and was sunk in the North Atlantic just off the coast of Greenland; and

WHEREAS, 905 servicemen, civilians and merchants were on the Dorchester when it was attacked only ninety miles from its destination; and

WHEREAS, more than 200 passengers and crew aboard the Dorchester survived the attack, thanks in part to the efforts of four Chaplains, George L. Fox, Alexander D. Goode, Clark V. Poling and John P. Washington, who sacrificed their lives to save others by giving up their lifejackets and distributing available lifejackets to others onboard; and

WHEREAS, the four clergymen served as a calming influence to many during a chaotic time through prayer and quiet counsel, and reports of their valor, dignity and altruism spread quickly once the Dorchester survivors returned safely to their homes; and

WHEREAS, on February 3, 1951, President Harry S. Truman ordered the Chapel of Four Chaplains be built, and in honor of the four clergymen who sacrificed their lives, the president declared, “This interfaith shrine…will stand through long generations to teach Americans that as men can die heroically as brothers so should they live together in mutual faith and goodwill”; and

WHEREAS, it is fitting to honor the four clergymen who were on the Dorchester whose faith compelled them to lay down their lives to save the lives of others, and to further express our gratitude to the clergymen and women in Virginia, whose dignity, selflessness and perpetual faith have blessed our great Commonwealth throughout the ages;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Terence R. McAuliffe, do hereby recognize February 9-15, 2014 as CLERGY APPRECIATION WEEK in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.