MARIETTA, Ga. -- "Gosh, it's raining, raining down rice on me."
Colonel John Powers and his wife Ann sit on the couch of their East Cobb home, paging through their wedding album. Both agree, August 29, 1970 was a pretty great day. Life for the now retired Colonel and his bride began at the chapel on what was then known as Dobbins Airforce Base.
Built during World War II and shipped to Germany so American soldiers could worship at war, this modular chapel was one of 603 made. After the war, it was disassembled and moved to North Carolina, before finding its permanent home on the base, and was dedicated on October 5,1950.
Sixty-two years later, the chapel is weeks from demolition. Not because of condition, or lack of use. Dobbins intends to build a road where the chapel stands, to allow better access to parts of the base. In a statement they say, 'The execution of our mission is mandated by law and critical to national security,' citing changes after 9/11.
Long after many of their friends lost their lives in the line of duty, a small group of retired airmen -- from Staff Seargent to Brigadier General, has picked a battle that seems all but lost. Not to them.
"It ain't grim. Everythings going to be alright. I just got a feeling I just really do."
The men worked to maintain the chapel, to raise $100,000 to move it to another spot on the base, something Dobbins supports but cannot fund, because government money isn't allowed. For seven years, the group has held off demolition but has not come up with enough money.
Colonel Powers says, "I'm afraid our deadline is fast approaching and unless we get some serious money real soon, the wrecking ball will come in here. The men and women of this base will not have a chapel to go to worship, or to get married or to hold a memorial service."
It's a place that represents devotion to a higher power. But because of secular rules of security, its demise seems inevitable.For those who said a final prayer here, for those for whom a final prayer was said, this chapel is more than a structure, it is an essential part of military life.
Anyone who wants more information or would like to make a donation to save the chapel can contact John Powers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 770-842-8727 or Dick Roberst at email@example.com or 404.558.0155.