‘Sacred Service’ at the National WWI Museum

Brad Miner | May 27, 2024

“A good chaplain is as valuable as a good general.”
– British field marshal Sir Douglas Haig, 1915

Growing up in Worthington, Ohio, Memorial Day was always accompanied – as where was it not – by a parade down High Street that included veterans, our high school band, some active-duty servicemen, and lots of spectators.

There were many WWII-era soldiers, Marines, and sailors in our town, and a few veterans of World War I too.

My memories are vivid of flags on veteran graves at Walnut Grove Cemetery and of band members in their full, fall uniforms, especially one 80+-degree day, on which occasion a clarinet player collapsed from heat exhaustion after the mile-long parade.

That cemetery is always the parade’s terminus (1300 veterans are buried there). A trumpeter always steps forward to play “Taps.”

These days the band members wear shorts and t-shirts, and the procession is followed by medical personnel – and plenty of water.

A diminishing number of WWII vets remain among us, but the last American veteran of WWI, Frank Buckles, died on February 27, 2011 – at the tender age of 110.

And it’s CPL Buckles’ war, the Great War, I want to discuss today, in thoughts prompted by a remarkable exhibit at the National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri.

Sacred Service, which opened this past Thursday, presents stories about (and artifacts from) chaplains who ministered to soldiers between 1914 and 1918. All images herein are from the exhibit.

For the rest of the column, click here . . .


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