Entering the military chapel at Camp Edwards is a little like stepping into a time capsule. The classically utilitarian structure was erected in the 1930’s and served a generation of GI’s as the last stateside respite before deploying to the European theater during the Second World War.
Dark knotty pine wainscoting lines the walls throughout the building, and rows of long rustic benches act as pews in the sun-drenched main prayer space. Vintage black and white photographs of the base and a poster commemorating the flag raising on Iwo Jima greet a visitor in the small vestibule. A crucifix rests in a shaft of light on a desk in a small office to one side.
In keeping with its current mission as an interfaith chapel, there is little traditional religious iconography in evidence, although the Stations of the Cross are still in place. Guidons commemorate nineteenth and twentieth century battles in which the 101st Field Artillery Regiment fought, from Gettysburg to The Ardennes-Alsace. A battalion banner and a flag presented to the regiment by the French resistance in World War II are prominently displayed on the back wall.
Today, the Chapel serves the spiritual needs of Massachusetts National Guard units during annual training and drill weekends. It is used less frequently than in earlier years, as it is more common for Chaplains to hold services for troops in the field.
For more information: http://www.thenationsfirst.org/JBCC/index.html