By Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service
from Huffington Post
ARLINGTON, VA. (RNS) In a ceremony steeped in Hebrew prayers and military hymns, a monument to Jewish chaplains who died in active duty was unveiled Monday (Oct. 24) at Arlington National Cemetery.
“They are unrecognized heroes of both Jewish and American life, but today we begin the process of publicly acknowledging their contribution and their ultimate sacrifice,” said Allan Finkelstein, president of the Jewish Community Centers Association, which sponsors the council that endorses Jewish military chaplains.
The cemetery’s Chaplains Hill has been home to three monuments — one for World War I chaplains, another for Protestant chaplains from the two world wars and one for Catholic chaplains from World War II and the wars in Korea and Vietnam.
The newest addition honors 14 Jewish chaplains who died in combat, in accidents or of natural causes. They include one who traveled thousands of miles each month to reach Jewish military members in isolated areas in Alaska. Two others perished in plane crashes on their way to conduct Hanukkah services for military personnel.
Retired Rear Adm. Harold L. Robinson, director of the JWB (Jewish Welfare Board) Jewish Chaplains Council, said the memorial reflects the unity of the U.S. military’s chaplain corps.