Four Chaplains Ceremony

Every year, on or about February 3, designated as Four Chaplains Day by Congress in 1948, American Legion posts nationwide commemorate the selfless acts of the Four Chaplains. Through interfaith services, memorial ceremonies and other solemn events, members of the American Legion Family lead their communities in honoring the chaplains and 668 other men who died when Dorchester sank.

On February 3, 1943, an enemy torpedo struck the Army transport Dorchester as it carried 902 officers and enlisted men, Navy armed guard, merchant seaman and civilian workers in the North Atlantic. The Coast Guard cutter escorts Comanche and Escanaba rescued 230 men. As Dorchester took on water, four Army chaplains – Lt. George L. Fox (Methodist), Lt. Alexander D. Goode (Jewish), Lt. John P. Washington (Roman Catholic) and Lt. Clark V. Poling (Dutch Reformed) – calmed frightened soldiers, aided the wounded and guided the disoriented toward safety.

On deck, they opened a storage locker and began distributing life jackets. When there were no more available, the chaplains removed their life jackets and gave them to four young men. “It was the finest thing I have seen or hope to see this side of heaven” said John Ladd, a survivor. As the ship went down, men in rafts saw the four chaplains, arms linked and braced against the slanting deck, singing hymns and praying.

Last year was the first year that American Legion Post 18 held a ceremony honoring the Four Chaplains. This year’s ceremony will consist of a presentation of the colors by the Civil Air Patrol-Tulare Kings Composite Squadron, patriotic songs performed by Doug Scarborough, a presentation on the story of the Four Chaplains and a candle lighting ceremony by American Legion Post 18 members. We hope that you will join us in honoring the selfless acts of these heroes on Sunday, February 16 at 2:00 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Building located at 609 W. Center Street in Visalia. Light refreshments will be served. Click here for the FLYER

Literary Landmarks

The Tulare County Historical Society is proud to announce the upcoming celebration for Wilma E. McDaniel. Better known as “the Biscuits and Gravy Poet”, Wilma will be installed as our state’s first and only woman poet, with the national recognition of one of only five California Literary Landmarks.  This event, a collaboration joining the Tulare County Historical Society, the Tulare Historical Museum and the Tulare County Library will highlight one of Tulare County’s very own. The late Wilma will be posthumously awarded a plaque, and honored thru recitals, firsthand accounts as well as food and music. Traveling from the red dirt state, Karen Neurohr, Professor from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater will be giving her unique perspective on Wilma’s’ life.  Please mark your calendars for this unique event: on Saturday March 28th. 2020 from 11:00 AM till 3:00 PM at the Tulare Historical Museum, 444 W. Tulare Ave. Tulare CA. 93274. Remember, we will be serving free biscuits and gravy in Wilma’s honor. See you there!  Questions, call Paul @ 559-906-4801.