A Magnificent Fool

Willy’s Chaplain PSA

During World War 2, many advertisers paid for ad space which not only promoted their product but showed the public what was happening in the war zones. Here’s an example of a Willys-Overland Motors ad which promoted the ministry of the chaplains.

“A Magnificent Fool”

“A sincere tribute to those Men of God, the ministers, priests and rabbis who walk and work in Faith, in the midst of war … whose only weapons are love, prayer, and cool courage … the Chaplains of America’s fighting forces who become deathless heroes … without manning guns.

“We were resting at our base in Tunisia-a General and I.

“It was just a few days after a heavy engagement with the Nazis, and we had been commenting upon the fine courage and fighting spirit of our American troops.

“Abruptly, the General turned to me and said, ‘Say-do you know Chaplain C—-?’ And I answered, ‘Yes, I know him!’

“‘Then,’ said he, ‘you know a man who has been called a fool and also, one of the bravest men of this war. Just listen to this and see what you think.’ And this is what he told me …

“‘We were fully exposed, the morning the Germans began their counterattack at G—-. They got our range with their artillery and we had to get into the trenches and fox holes in a hurry when their dive bombers came at us in swarms.

“‘Just when I thought I had everything under control, I looked down the road and saw some man crawling towards us through the dim light in a Jeep. It seemed as if this fellow were coming right out of the German lines.

“‘ When I got a better look, I recognized him, It was Chaplain C—. His Jeep was literally shot to pieces, and two of the tires were flat.

“‘Shells were dropping all around him, but he didn’t seem to see them. If he did he didn’t care, because he just kept coming. He wasn’t making more than six or eight miles an hour through the sand-but the Jeep kept coming.

“‘When he came nearly opposite us I shouted at him:-‘=”Get out of that think and take cover!” But he paid no attention to me. So I stood up in my trench and yelled-“Did you hear me? Get out of that thing, and take cover.”

“‘He didn’t even stop. He just turned his head and shouted:-“Listen, you! It took me eight months to get this Jeep and I’m not giving it up for anyone!” Just like that.

“‘I was so mad I couldn’t talk, much less shout back at him. But just then a couple of star shells lighted things up as bright as day and I got a good look in the rear of the Chaplain’s Jeep.

“There were two wounded American boys in there.

“‘Then I understood. Chaplain C— was being a foo. But what a magnificent fool.’

“‘As I stood and watched him in his flat-tired Jeep slowly inching his way back to our dressing station, I forgot that shells were bursting around me, too. I felt like kneeling right there in the trench.

“‘Yes, Chaplain C— made a ‘fool’ of himself that day, as he had many times before, and will many times more, I am sure-in selfless, fearless devotion to ‘the boys’ he loves.

“‘Is it any wonder they decorated him right there on the field of battle? Is it any wonder they promoted this brave Man of God who seeks no honor but only to serve? And is it any wonder the men who know him say they will follow him anywhere-and they mean anywhere?’

“That was the end of the General’s story. What a magnificent fool.”

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About Daryl Densford

I am an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene serving as an active-duty Army Chaplain. I am currently the Deputy Garrison Chaplain at Fort Wainwright, Fairbanks, Alaska.

Posted on 31 May 2019, in Chaplaincy, History and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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