Pike County Times
The Pike County Times, PO Box 843, Zebulon, Georgia 30295. You can donate through PayPal at the link on the bottom of the page. Becky Watts: Phone # 770-468-7583 editor(@)pikecountytimes.com
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Dead Men's Hollow. Pictured above left to right are Caryn Fox, Jared Creason, Belinda Hardesty, Amy Nazarov, Marcy Cochran, Mike Clayberg.

Band photo credit: Maureen Murphy in DC's Congressional Cemetery in 4/18. (Amy is the blonde in front with the guitar.)

Photos above courtesy of Amy Nazarov.

Photo courtesy of the Pike County American Legion Family 197
A Tribute to the Four Chaplains
By Editor Becky Watts

ZEBULON - Amy Nazarov grew up hearing stories about Granddad’s friend who died long before she was born. Her Granddad’s friend was one of four chaplains from different faiths who showed their extraordinary faith when their ship was attacked and sank during World War II. When she was older, she decided to write a song to celebrate this friendship that her Granddad told her about. The story and the memory of these Four Chaplains lives on even today!

Amy is a singer and songwriter from Washington DC who has a long career in music. She was a member of Dead Men’s Hollow based out of Virginia from 2003 through 2018. The band played a million shows, had five cd’s, and quite a regional following.

“No one really planned on it going that far,” she said. Amy described it as a labor of love and said that the members of Dead Men’s Hollow had a wonderful run together. The band has recently disbanded since two of the members moved out west, but their music lives on and all are still involved in music.

During her time with Dead Men’s Hollow, she wrote a song about four chaplains who gave their lives heroically during World War II based on the stories that her father’s father told when she was young. Her Grandfather died over a decade ago, but the story of his friend will be played on Sunday at the Four Chaplains Ceremony on Sunday, February 3, 2019 at 3 p.m. at Mt. Gilead Church in Griffin. The program will be presented by members of the Pike County Post 197 American Legion Family.

The History Behind the Song

Amy’s grandfather went to Yale in the 1930’s to become a minister. While he was there, he became friends with Clark V. Poling who was also studying to earn his Masters in Divinity. After graduation, both went their separate ways.

According to www.fourchaplains.org/clark-v-poling, Clark volunteered to become a chaplain after our country went to war with Japan, Germany, and Italy. He began as a chaplain with the 131st Quartermaster Truck Regiment in Hattiesburg, Mississippi but soon transferred to Chaplains School at Harvard where he met the three other chaplains who would soon serve together on the U.S.A.T. Dorchester.

According to the Four Chaplains website (linked above), George L. Fox was a decorated WWI veteran and a Methodist minister from Gilman Vermont, Alexander D. Goode was a Rabbi from York, Pennsylvania, John. P. Washington was a Catholic Priest from Kearny, New Jersey, and Clark V. Poling was a minister in the Reformed Church in America from Schenectady, New York. These four chaplains were serving together in the early morning hours on the night of February 3, 1943 when the United States Army Transport (U.S.A.T.) Dorchester was traveling from Newfoundland to an Army base in Greenland. It was part of a convoy of ships making the journey and was carrying 902 service men, merchant seamen, and civilian workers.

The ship was torpedoed by a German submarine and sank into the icy water in less than twenty minutes. Of the 902 men aboard the U.S.A.T. Dorchester, 672 died that night. 230 survived and many told stories about four heroic chaplains who handed out life jackets to the crew and even gave away their own life jackets that night knowing that they would not survive without them. The Distinguished Service Cross and Purple Heart were awarded to each of these chaplains posthumously and the story of their sacrifice has been told over and over with places name in their honor around the country.

“In its day, it was a huge, huge disaster.” Legend has it, Amy said, that these four chaplains linked arms as they stood together on the deck, and were supposedly singing “Nearer My God to Thee” as the ship went down. These young men were from different faith traditions, but when that boat was torpedoed, they were called together by their faith. Survivors told the story of these men of faith, and their story lives on today.

Their story was passed on to her by her grandfather as he told her about his friend. Amy’s father found a Four Chaplains stamp. He framed it and gave it to her. According to www.fourchaplains.org/the-immortal-chaplains-postage-stamp , the United States Postal Service issued three cent stamps in 1948 to honor the four chaplains. Amy was inspired to write a song to celebrate the friendship that her grandfather had with Reverend Clark V. Poling.

The Ballad of the Four Chaplains

Dead Men’s Hollow recorded “Ballad of the Four Chaplains” on their gospel CD, Angels' Share, ten years ago. Dead Men's Hollow is an award-winning Americana/bluegrass band that was based in DC from 2001-2018. Pictured above left to right are Caryn Fox, Jared Creason, Belinda Hardesty, Amy Nazarov, Marcy Cochran, Mike Clayberg.

The song tells it well: “…Four men history will note gave their lives without a pause, gave all for the greater cause…” The back cover of Angels' Share features song titles that are overlaid on a picture that Amy took of the stained glass memorial of the Four Chaplains located at the Pentagon.

Ballad of the Four Chaplains
By Amy Nazarov
Copyright 2009, BMI

Verse pair 1
One dark night in ‘43
The Dorchester was out at sea
Off the coast of old Greenland
Soon to make her final stand
And on board that fated boat
Four men history will note
Gave their lives without a pause
Gave all for a greater cause

Chorus 1
Each prayed to his higher God
Each the best he gave
For in Torpedo Alley was
a U boat ‘neath the waves

Verse pair 2
They were Dutch Reformed and Jew
Methodist and Catholic too
Uncle Sam called them to go
When their fate they could not know
So they found the ground common to all
Answered to a higher call
When the Dorchester was hit
They gave away their life jackets

Each prayed to his higher God
Each the best he gave
900 men upon that ship
Too few would not be saved

Verse pair 3
Rabbi Goode gave his gloves away
On the Dorchester he’d stay
Rev. Poling preached of hope and light
On that terrifying night
Father Washington calmed their fears
Wiped away their frightened tears
And Rev. Fox sent up a prayer
Entrusting all to God’s own care

Chorus 3:
The four chaplains stood tall and sang
“Nearer my God to Thee”
And with arms linked in brotherhood
They sank beneath the sea
And then the four chaplains did enter in
The kingdom high above
Not with pockets full of gold
But tolerance and love
[Printed by permission.]

Amy told me that there are sites, locations, and parks all over the United States that are named in honor of the Four Chaplains. A search of our area found The Field of Four Chaplains on Fort Benning here in Columbus, Georgia. Click here to read an Army Times article on this field.

Ceremony to Be Held In Honor of the Four Chaplains

Peggi Payton, American Legion Auxiliary Unit 197 President and American Legion Post 197 Finance Officer, has organized the Four Chaplains program here in our area for several years and found “The Ballad of the Four Chaplains” by Dead Men’s Hollow. Peggi bought the song to be played at the local ceremony to honor the Four Chaplains, liked the song on the Facebook page for Dead Men’s Hollow, and began messaging Amy. They’ve been talking now for over a year, and she arranged the interview for this article.

I talked to Amy about the ceremony that our local American Legion presents in honor of the Four Chaplain and she said, “I’m so glad to see this kind of recognition continuing... Their memory does live on!”

Members of the Pike County American Legion Family 197 will present the Four Chaplains Ceremony honoring the 76th anniversary of their story at 3 p.m. Sunday, February 3 at Mt. Gilead Baptist Church located at 14550 US-19, Griffin, GA 30224. The public is invited to attend. Click here to read the original press release.

More on Dead Men’s Hollow and Amy Nazarov

Dead Men’s Hollow is on Facebook.

Here is a place to buy the Ballad of the Four Chaplains or the entire CD on itunes.

Another place to buy is on Amazon.

Amy’s current bands are Tiber Creek (Folk) and Ardmore (Celtic). Tiber Creek has a Facebook page.