At the morning roll call at Fort Dix, the sergeant called out: “Platoon, atten-HUT! Private Martinez, report to the office. Your brother died last night.”
The Chaplain, Rabbi Horowitz, looked on in horror.
“Sergeant,” he said afterwards, “that’s a rather cruel and unfeeling way to break tragic news. We must be more gentle and less abrupt in the future.”
The sergeant shrugged. “Yes sir. I’ll try to remember that.” He didn’t look very convinced.
Several days later, a call came in about another family death. As the troops were assembling for roll call, the Chaplain stepped forward. “Let me take this one, sergeant,” he said.
He turned toward the sleepy-looking soldiers and said, “Platoon, atten-HUT !”
They came to attention. “Good morning, men!” he said. “Good morning, sir”, they replied.
“Men, today is Mother’s Day, and I hope all of you will be calling home to send your moms a loving thought. In fact, all of you who are fortunate enough to still have a mother who’s alive and well, take two steps forward. Private Jones; not so fast!”