Father Kapaun Gets Posthumous Medal Of Honor

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

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Update: Thursday, April 11, 2013

In the tiny town of Pilsen, KS, you don't have to tell anyone who Father Emil Kapaun was.

"He was legendary," said Magdeline Dvorak.

Dvorak watched with emotion as President Barak Obama posthumously bestowed the nation's highest military honor upon Kapaun, the former holy priest of St. John Nepomucene Catholic Church in Pilsen.

"It's so great to finally see this happening," Dvorak said.

Across the street at the parish, William Benda showed off a small Kapaun exhibit with pride.

"This is long overdue," Benda said. "He deserved this recognition a long time ago and the fact that it has come so many years after his death is a good deal. It's finally done."

At the very rectory where Father Kapaun resided, the Medal of Honor will lay alongside the vestments he wore to preach to the community.

"We have kind of become a place of pilgrimage," Benda said. "People from other countries have come here... other states. People come here and they try to find a bit of the holiness that this man captured."

In the Pilsen cemetery, a small memorial has been erected in Kapaun's honor. However, his remains were never retrieved from Korea.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

President Barack Obama has bestowed the Medal of Honor on an Army chaplain he says dodged bullets to provide medical aid and spiritual comfort to wounded soldiers during the Korean War.

The president says Capt. Emil Kapaun carried an injured American for four miles as Chinese captors led them on a death march. He says he cleaned captured soldiers' wounds, convinced them to share scarce food and ministered to them in captivity.

President Obama says Kapaun showed even in hellish situations, there's a touch of the divine. He says Kapaun wielded a weapon mightier than the gun: a willingness to die to save his brothers.

The Kansas-born Roman Catholic priest died as a prisoner of war at age 35. Some of the soldiers helped by Kapaun attended the White House ceremony.

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