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!"