Eighty-three Catholic military chaplains who gave their lives during World War II, the Korean Conflict and in the Vietnam War are honored on a special monument at Arlington National Cemetery. The monument was erected on May 21, 1989, on Chaplains' Hill by the Archdiocese for the Military Services, Silver Spring, Md.
The dedication ceremony, which began with a concelebrated Mass in the Amphitheater of the Cemetery, was presided over by Archbishop Joseph T. Ryan, Archbishop of the Military Archdiocese. Other guests included Brigadier General Patrick H. Brady, chief of public affairs, and the secretary of the Army, who was the speaker for the dedication ceremony. General Brady, a Roman Catholic, earned the Medal of Honor in Vietnam.
Monuments honoring chaplains from all denomination who died in World War I and the Protestant chaplains who died during World War II stand alongside the Catholic Chaplains' monument.
Seventy priests lost their lives in World War II, six in Korea, and seven in Vietnam. Many of their relatives attended the dedication ceremony, along with 83 priests from 43 dioceses and religious orders. Many diocesan bishops and religious superiors also attended the ceremonies.
The idea for this monument originated with Mr. Raymond Costanzo, superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery in 1989. He discussed the idea with Colonel Daniel Donahue, command chaplain for the U.S. Army Military District of Washington. Chaplain Donahue submitted a proposal to the Archdiocese for the Military Services, and the proposal was accepted by the priests' council of the Archdiocese in September 1988. Arlington National Cemetery granted approval in October of that year.
The monument is an unpolished granite stone with a bronze plaque. The stone stands six feet 10 inches tall and is 42 inches wide and 10 inches thick. The plaque is 50 inches by 30 inches. It lists the names of the chaplains alphabetically for World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. The cost was approximately $8,000 and was paid for out of the general operating funds of the Archdiocese. The monument was constructed by the Raymond G. Merkle Cemetery Monument Company of Baltimore, Md.
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard