Photo By Sgt. Youtoy Martin | Brig. Gen. Brian Alvin, U.S. Army Pacific exercise commander, shakes hands with chaplain Mike Donaldson reserve Australian wing commander with 23rd Squadron Brisbane during the 60th annual commemorations of St. Christopher’s Chapel in Rockhampton, Australia, July 5, 2015. The non-denominational chapel was a place of worship for over 70,000 U.S. Army Soldiers fighting in the Pacific during the Second World War. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Youtoy Martin, 19th Public Affairs Detachment)
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ROCKHAMPTON, Australia – Australian and American service members have gathered at St. Christopher’s Chapel in Nerimbera, Australia, to celebrate the chapel’s 60-year commemoration, July 5, 2015.
Built in 1943, the chapel was constructed by the 542nd Engineers Ship and Shore Battalion under the supervision of four chaplains to bring solace to U.S. service members recovering from injuries.
“The chaplains consecrated St. Christopher’s Chapel as a place of Divine Worship where non-denominational services could be held, with each chaplain contributing to the service,” said Chaplain Steve Cloudsdale, garrison chaplain for Talisman Sabre 15.
In 1984, more than 170 American veterans left their homes in the U.S. to visit the chapel in Australia.
Cloud went on to say, “These veterans of WWII were returning to the site that had given them strength of mind and body… that was St. Christopher’s Chapel.”
Throughout the years, the chapel has been maintained in honor of the relationship between Australia and the United States.
June and Graham Bell, a married couple, return to this event every year to keep the tradition alive.
“I think it’s important to honor the strong relationships and friendship forged and to pause for a moment to remember the bonds that go back to WWII,” said Graham.
Graham comes from a military family. His grandfather was a Marine engineer who served in 1910, and Graham and his wife also both served in the Australian army.
“As two people who have served in the military, we both understand the importance of this ceremony, of remembering the past, maintaining new and future relationships,” added Graham. “We are proud to be here today and you’ll be seeing us next year.”
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ROCKHAMPTON, QLD, AU
This work, Chapel builds international bonds, by SGT Sinthia Rosario, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.