Military Chaplain Memorial at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery


A memorial honoring the chaplains of the country’s armed forces and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will be at on October 12th Indiantown Gap National Cemetery.

The day begins with a service at 10 a.m. Memorial to Veterans in Pennsylvaniafollowed by the unveiling and a buffet lunch. The public is invited.

The stone was engraved by Gingrich Memorials in Middletown and bears the pastoral motto: “For God and Land”.

There are also four “very colorful” emblems that represent the Army, Navy, Air Force, and the VA, said Rev. Bruce Farrell, vice president of the Susquehanna Chapter Association of Military Chaplains the United States of America, which sponsors the memorial.

“That makes it gaudy,” he said to LebTown and will get people’s attention. “Symbols and seals in the military are very important.”

Farrell described the granite tribute as “a thing of beauty”.

The Susquehanna Chapter of the Military Chaplains Association raised $ 5,200 for the project. About a third went to the porcelain emblems made in California, Farrell said.

“It was worth every penny,” he says.

The cemetery’s new memorial is on a trail with others including those honoring subs, Seabees, military musicians and veterans of the China-Burma-India Campaign of World War II, Farrell said.

As a retired army chaplain and colonel, he served two missions abroad, one in Iraq and one in Kosovo. Farrell is currently the pastor of Zion Gosherts United Church of Christ on Mount Zion Road.

First approved by the Continental Congress in 1775, military chaplaincy has three purposes: to feed the living, comfort the wounded, and honor the dead, he explained. “You are there to take care of the unit and the soldiers when someone dies.”

It can also be a dangerous duty. Farrell said he was only feet away from a mortar explosion in the early days of his Iraq tour.

The Pennsylvania Veterans’ Memorial, where the dedication service is held, is “one of Lebanon County’s hidden gems,” he said.

It resembles a bombed-out WWII cathedral, Farrell said, and it has reflective pools, granite benches, and an amphitheater.

“There’s something very sacred about it,” he said. “The beauty and solemnity are very, very moving.”

According to the state Veterans Affairs website, the 107-foot, 360-foot long open-air memorial, inaugurated in October 2001, “is the first in the Commonwealth to honor veterans from all eras from the War of Independence. … It is the largest veterans memorial in one of the 143 national cemeteries operated by the US Department of Veterans Affairs. “

The architecture “is peaceful and harmonious and contains the elements of air, land and water, representative of the battlefields on which our veterans fought for our freedom. A grave for all fallen soldiers, known or unknown, is strategically placed in view of the sacrifices veterans make for freedom. “

Guest speaker for the Initiation Service is Major General David Hicks, a retired Army chaplain who served as Army chaplain from 2003 to 2007. He retired from active service in 2007 and lives in Adams County.

A graduate of United Wesleyan College, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Duke University, the ordained Presbyterian pastor, who became a military chaplain in 1974, traveled to Korea, Germany, and Alaska. The numerous military awards from Hicks include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with two bronze oak leaf clusters, and the Meritorious Service Medal with a silver oak leaf cluster.

After the service, the memorial will be unveiled to the accompaniment of patriotic music, said Farrell, including “America the Beautiful” and the national anthem.

The ceremonies will end with a buffet lunch hosted by the Susquehanna Chapter of the Military Chaplains Fort Indiantown Gap Community Club.

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