Living, working and playing among the Service Members they minister to, chaplains usually have insight into the struggles and feelings of those Service Members. They help them try to navigate their troubles successfully through many means, based on their strengths and talents. Some use poetry, as did Chaplain Henry W. Habel, who by March 1945, had been an Army Chaplain for three years.
Chaplain Habel was from Buffalo, New York and graduated from Acadia University in Nova Scotia before pastoring churches in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, New York and Canada through the Baptist Church of the Northern Convention.
The following poem, written by Chaplain Habel, was found in a worship bulletin from 6 May 1945, from the 13th General Hospital Chapel in New Guinea where Chaplain (Major) D.O. Luginbill and Chaplain (Captain) L.V. Walters were the chaplains.
Oft men feel they’re “in a spot”,
Wondering how to bear their lot,
Grieving that there must be change;
“Why?” they ask. “Tis all so strange!”
Such the case in time of peace;
Doubly so when wars increase.
Yearning hearts cry every where,
Weighed with this most awful care.
Here’s a truth. Grasp it with me.
Change is a necessity!
Through it better days are born,
Life made wholesome while it’s torn.
Hardships build a stronger man,
Vision full, a will that can,
Satisfied with simple things,
Fighting all that evil brings.
Chaplains have always found ways to remind their Soldiers, Sailors, Marines or Airmen about worship services. During WW2, one chaplain used these “Greeting” cards with a calendar to encourage attendance.
Likely distributed by the chaplain around Christmas 1943, this folded card includes a couple of verses and an invitation to attend Chapel Services. There is also an invitation to see the chaplain with any problems the Soldier may have. The inside includes a 1944 calendar to check off Sunday worship attendance as well as communion participation with the encouragement to “make 1944 a record year” and is pre-signed by the chaplain, Gilbert Johnstone (author’s collection).
You can see more items that chaplains gave to Service Members on this page.