Pooler – The Chapel of the Fallen Eagles at the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force is dedicated to those who served in the Eighth Air Force and to the memory of those who died in service with the Eighth Air Force. It sits amidst the Museum’s Memorial Gardens, a fitting place for a chapel. In addition to memorial services, it is also used for weddings and other church services. While non denominational, it’s designed is based on that of an English parish church; the tower and doors face west and the chancel and main window face east. It has a very traditional feel with late 19th Century pews, a vintage lectern, and vintage railings.
The chapel was built in 2002 and has a very traditional feel with the exception of the windows. Whereas many churches have stained glass windows that feature various religious imagery, the Chapel of the Fallen Eagles features stained glass windows with a mix of religious and military imagery, particularly relevant to World War II that were given by veterans groups and individuals . The stained glass windows are absolutely beautiful works of art by Aurora Stained Glass in Savannah; it’s hard to take them and not be emotionally moved. For me, the most poignant and moving of the windows is the one in the chancel behind the altar; it shows a fallen bomber crewman before Christ and it never fails to bring a tear to my eye. Another window that caught my eye is one given by a Jewish Veteran who was a World War II POW. It uses Old Testament imagery in the form of Moses holding the Ten Commandments; the use of the Exodus theme in conjunction with the remembrance of those that are Missing in Action or were Prisoners of War is a powerful one.
This prayer by the Very Reverend Robert C. Martin, a 392nd BG Pilot and Dean of the Cathedral, Ret. in Erie, PA is on a plaque in the nave. I think it is perfect to finish this post:
Almighty God, Who has blessed us with
the will and courage to do our duty,
we praise you for our comrades whose death
kept freedom living. We praise You also
for giving us the years we have lived
since their departure. We pray that You
will strengthen and sustain our devotion
to truth and justice, so that we may be
faithful beneficiaries of their sacrifice.
Continue Your mercy to our comrades;
keep them in Your care; and bring us
at last into Your presence there
to rejoice eternally. Amen