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Chapel of the Fallen Eagles – National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force

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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 of the Fallen Eagles at the National Museum of the Eighth Air Force

The Chapel of the Fallen Eagles at the National Museum of the Eighth Air Force

Looking forward to the chapel's chancel from the nave

Looking forward to the chapel’s chancel from the nave

Looking back toward the chapel's nave from the chancel

Looking back toward the chapel’s nave from the chancel

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.

In Memory of our Glorious Dead, 303rd Bomb Group, Molesworth, England 1942-1945

In Memory of our Glorious Dead, 303rd Bomb Group, Molesworth, England 1942-1945

This window was given in Memory of The Men of the 457th Bomb Group

This window was given in Memory of The Men of the 457th Bomb Group

This window was given in honor of T/Sgt R.M. Kennedy, 448th BG, 8 AAF by Mrs. Richard M. Kennedy

This window was given in Honor of T/Sgt R.M. Kennedy, 448th BG, 8 AAF by Mrs. Richard M. Kennedy

This window was given in honor of the 355th Fighter Group

This window was given in Honor of the 355th Fighter Group

This window was given in remembrance of those who died during WWII, the 384th BG, Grafton-Underwood, 1942-1945

This window was given in Remembrance of those who died during WWII, the 384th BG, Grafton-Underwood, 1942-1945

These windows are built into one of the chapel's side doors and features the 93rd BG

These windows are built into one of the chapel’s side doors and features the 93rd BG

This window was dedicated by Abraham "Hap" Galfunt, 493rd BG, Debach, England, co pilot of B-17s and B-24s, and a POW in Stalag Luft 1

This window was dedicated by Abraham “Hap” Galfunt, 493rd BG, Debach, England, co pilot of B-17s and B-24s, and a POW in Stalag Luft 1

This window was given in Memory of those who died in service with the 96th BG

This window was given in Memory of those who died in service with the 96th BG. It is behind the altar in the chancel and to me, the most emotional and poignant window in the chapel.

This window was given in Memory of those who died in service with the 100th BG

This window was given in Memory of those who died in service with the 100th BG

These windows are built into one of the chapel's side doors and features the 379th BG

These windows are built into one of the chapel’s side doors and features the 379th BG

This window was given in Memory of 1st Lt. Jack W. Thrasher who served with 100th BG, KIA on 3 March 1945

This window was given in Memory of 1st Lt. Jack W. Thrasher who served with 100th BG, KIA on 3 March 1945

This window was given in Memory of Caroline Wynn Wilson

This window was given in Memory of Caroline Wynn Wilson

This window was given in Memory of William Sidney Wilson, Pioneer Aviator, 1897-1998

This window was given in Memory of William Sidney Wilson, Pioneer Aviator, 1897-1998

This window was given in Honor of the 7th Photo Recon Group

This window was given in Honor of the 7th Photo Recon Group

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


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