On behalf of the members of the URG Chaplaincy, I take this opportunity to offer greetings to the veterans in the Rio Family in honor of Veterans Day!
This year not only marks the centennial of the end of World War One, it is also the centennial year for the U.S. Army Chaplain School. During World War One there were five Army chaplains killed in action, six died from wounds, twelve from disease or accident and twenty-seven wounded in action. Twenty-three chaplains earned the Distinguished Service Cross for their efforts during the war. Two notable chaplains from this war include Father John B. DeValles, called the “Angel of the Trenches” for offering care to the wounded and dying troops of both Allied and German militaries in the “No Man’s Land” between the trenches. Father Francis P. Duffy who wrote a book about his World War One experience and was portrayed on film by actor Pat O’Brien in the film The Fighting 69th (1940). (Two other historical figures who served in Duffy’s regiment during the war were Col. William Donovan, future leader of the OSS and Sgt. Joyce Kilmer, the poet best known for his poem “Trees”). Father Duffy Square at Broadway & 46th Street in New York City is named in his honor.
Regardless of what branch and in what years the veteran served, we owe a great debt of thanks to those men and women who put on a uniform to defend our country in the past, as we owe a similar debt to those who wear the uniform of our armed services today. The freedoms we as Americans enjoy were secured by the veterans of yesterday and continually insured by the military personnel of today. The veteran, by his or her service, found a way to serve our country. The chaplain, whether a veteran or active duty, found a way to serve both God and country
William E. Plants
URG Chaplaincy Coordinator