Many Kansans long have been inspired by the story of Father Emil Kapaun’s heroism and ultimate sacrifice while an Army chaplain and prisoner of war in North Korea. How wonderful to see the whole country learn about and admire the Catholic priest from Pilsen as President Obama posthumously awarded him the Medal of Honor on Thursday.
In what became the last days of his life, Kapaun responded to danger and deprivation with courage and selflessness, saving lives, sustaining hopes, and even blessing and forgiving his captors. Obama noted that though Kapaun didn’t fire a gun, he wielded the mightiest weapon: love.
His fellow prisoners believe they owe Kapaun for their survival, and they never stopped trying to claim for him the deserved recognition of a Medal of Honor.
“Father Kapaun was a constant example,” Robert Wood, one of his fellow prisoners, told the Washington Post.
He still is, even 62 years after his death. And he will continue to be that and more, in large part because of the Army friends who wanted the world to remember and revere Kapaun as much as they do.