Roanoke 8th Air Force Fellowship
Shaping the Future by Remembering the Past
Preserving Their Legacy For Future Generations
The Gray Ladies Chapel
Beginning as a vision in the early 1920s by Miss Margaret Lower, Field Director of the American Red Cross at Walter Reed General Hospital, the Memorial Chapel was established through the tireless efforts of many who envisioned it as a place where those in the service could go lift their voices and souls to Almighty God. In their mind's eye, they saw a chapel of all faiths and a House of God for all peoples.
At a place where everything that medical science and money could provide was being done for healing of the physical man, it was believed that similar provisions should be made for the spiritual needs of man. Thus was born the idea of the Chapel, a non-sectarian place of worship for all who should desire to use it.
The Gray Ladies to whom goes the credit for building the Chapel, were a Volunteer Service of the American Red Cross and started at Walter Reed General Hospital by Miss Margaret Lower and Mrs. Henry R. Rea. In the summer of 1918, the women were instructed to wear a gray dress or apron and a gray veil. When the first patients returned from overseas WW1 battlefields in 1918, they christened them the "Gray Ladies". The name remains and the extent of their work cannot be recorded, so great has it been. The visible crown of their labor is the Memorial Chapel which serves both as a memorial to the men and women who gave their lives in the service to their country as well as a memorial to the Gray Ladies of the Red Cross Volunteer Hospital Service.