Saturday, February 05, 2011

In Honor of Four Chaplains Day

A priest, a rabbi, two ministers. All chaplains. Brothers, as they shared the same FATHER.

Today is  Four Chaplains Day. We'd never remembered this day until we began attending military Chapels.

Before boarding the USAT Dorchester, Chaplain Poling had asked his father to pray for him, "Not for my safe return, that wouldn't be fair. Just pray that I shall do my duty...never be a coward...and have the strength, courage and understanding of men. Just pray that I shall be adequate."

On February 3rd, 1943, at 12:55 in the morning, the USAT Dorchester, carrying 902 servicemen took a torpedo mid-ship and began taking on water rapidly. Panic and chaos was rampant aboard the ship as men sought to save their lives pushing and shoving to find a place in one of the lifeboats.
The following excerpt from Home of Heroes says it much more eloquently than I.

"In less than half an hour, water was beginning to flow across the deck of the sinking Dorchester. Working against time the Chaplains continued to pass out the life vests from the lockers as the soldiers pressed forward in a ragged line. And then....the lockers were all empty...the life jackets gone. Those still pressing in line began to realize they were doomed, there was no hope. And then something amazing happened, something those who were there would never forget. All Four Chaplains began taking their own life jackets off....and putting them on the men around them. Together they sacrificed their last shred of hope for survival, to insure the survival of other men.... most of them total strangers. Then time ran out. The Chaplains had done all they could for those who would survive, and nothing more could be done for the remaining...including themselves.

Those who had been fortunate enough to reach lifeboats struggled to distance themselves from the sinking ship, lest they be pulled beneath the ocean swells by the chasm created as the transport slipped into a watery grave. Then, amid the screams of pain and horror that permeated the cold dark night, they heard the strong voices of the Chaplains. "Shma Yisroel Adonai Elohenu Adonai Echod." "Our Father, which art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done."

Looking back they saw the slanting deck of the Dorchester, its demise almost complete. Braced against the railings were the Four Chaplains...praying...singing, giving strength to others by their final valiant declaration of faith. Their arms were linked together as they braced against the railing and leaned into each other for support, Reverend Fox, Rabbi Goode, Reverend Poling, and Father Washington. Said one of the survivors, "It was the finest thing I have ever seen this side of heaven." 

You can find out more about this story by doing a simple google search of "The Four Chaplains."

Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Winter Adventure - Towada Horse Park

We decided to head out to Towada Horse Park to see if the slide were open. Other adventures at the horse park and directions are here and here.  It was a warm day.  The roads were great until we turned into the driveway of the park.....glad Mike was driving. The kids said they would have gotten out and walked if I'd been driving. ::snort::  We knew the slides would probably be closed, but it was fun to see the park in its winter finery. 

Our refuge from prior downpours....
 Even this guy was wearing winter boots
 Sleigh rides complete with tea and ramen.....
We hiked as high up the mountain/roads as we could and then the kids sled all the way down to the park area...great fun. 

We headed over to the area where a Japanese family was sledding. We were the only ones on the hill.....perfect. We were able to watch how they used these peculiar pieces of bamboo. 

To the delight of our examples, we got some to try for ourselves....some of us did anyway...Nolan was a natural.

 When the mom and daughter next to us tried to double up - so did the boys. ::snort:: 
 Arielle took the prize today for most spectacular biffs and snow burns. 

It's been nearly a year since Mike left for Afghanistan and three months since he's been home. We're still so very thankful to have him home.  He makes every outing much more fun. 

Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Birthdays, Travels, Shrines and Doctors

I do try to keep this blog current for the benefit of our grown kids, parents and friends who live far from us. I print it weekly to send to family and I really should say something about the last two weeks. LOL I "faked" an entry by posting photos of the train adventure before I left home. ::snort::  The past two weeks can be summed up fairly quickly: 

I had a birthday. Mike and the kids celebrated it on Sunday as I had studies and Mike had a base wide exercise (as in war games not P90) in which to participate.  I see a theme of self-care in these gifts....relaxation, jewelry, chocolate and  hobbies....they did good, didn't they? 

 Mike thinks my sea glass jewelry is ready to go to the next level. 

I spent 3 days traveling to Tokyo, exploring the New Sanno, meeting with Tokyo area PWOC Peeps, and such. Juliet, Asia Region VP, and I also went out on our OWN for a sightseeing trip. We wanted to see if the time we're planning to give the ladies during conference will be enough for them to go see "something". We also wanted to see how hard it would be for those totally unfamiliar with Tokyo to find their way around. We did fine.  The running joke on the regional board is that I break a pair of reading glasses every time we meet.....this  is the pair I broke not 10 min after seeing Juliet. 

Discovered Banana Hot Cocoa on the trip...yum. 

Welcome sign at Ueno Station

Myself and Juliet

Incense of prayers....something to ponder and pray about

I was discreet and was not the only one videoing....the routine is to throw money, clap, bow, pray, bow....and there was no bell here to ring....all very sad when you the crowds putting their faith in this.....We speak to nations, be free! 

I was really happy to do so well with the subways and trains. It was a blessing to have 3 hours to visit with Mary before she went to the states to be with her father for his surgery.  She was an encouragement. I brought these ninja hoods back for the boys.....I got one for Jared figuring he'll use it in a human video. 

When I got home I had a bit of an adventure trying to get the taxi driver to my home. He told me repeatedly this was not a Japanese address. LOL  We had company that night and the next day was busy and into Sunday. 

This week began with doctor appointments and Bible Studies.  Then came the accident..... I spent Thursday and Friday on base. Jared and I had appointments and it was easier to go in and stay as we are currently a one car family.  The kids at home did AMAZINGLY well with the work I'd laid out for them, Jared got a LOT more done being in a quiet chapel all day and I got much done on various speaking engagements I have coming up as well as the planning the local PWOC retreat. 

Arielle and Nolan crushed our "iron fortified" cereal, used a magnet and attracted iron....ew. 

I had a cholesterol check this week. I'm thrilled with the lost weight and exercise that my blood pressure is down to 117/78....lower than "junior's". ::snort::  The amazing thing was my cholesterol number. Even with all the weight loss and such, my cholesterol was 300 when they checked three months ago. It's 199 now. I mentioned I could try to go off and maintain again and was told absolutely not. Seems I've aged enough now to be in the bracket where heart attacks are the number one killer for women and he felt having my cholesterol that high for this many years is bad, bad, I'll take the pills. It did an amazing job of bringing the numbers down.  I hope to be mid-range or low range in 3 more months. 

One last funny of the week....when I was meeting with Mr. Kobiyashi about a location for our retreat he insisted I needed to give him a "laugh estimate" by a week before our retreat. I had him repeat it several times, had no clue why he needed a laugh estimate but wrote it down. Annette, our wonderful Wing Chaplain's wife, was also in the meeting. She leaned over and said, "I think he means a rough estimate!" ::snort:: I figured he wanted to know when to laugh during the weekend. LOL 

Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...