Posthumous Medal of Honor for Fr. Emil Kapaun, candidate for sainthood

Very good news, from Kansas:

Emil Kapaun, a priest from Kansas celebrated for his actions during the Korean War and in a North Korean prisoner of war camp, will be awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama, the nation’s highest military award for bravery

Former Kansas Congressman Todd Tiahrt of Goddard called The Eagle on Friday and sent a note he had received from an officer in the Pentagon about preparations for a White House ceremony April 11. Tiahrt later posted the letter on his Facebook page, which said that Kapaun also will be honored April 12 at the Pentagon.

Obama is expected to present the medal to Kapaun’s sister-in-law, Helen, and her children. The president called Helen Kapaun at her Bel Aire home in December to tell her the news.

Helen Kapaun, 83, has said for years that if her brother-in-law ever was awarded the Medal of Honor, she would not go to the ceremony but would ask her children to go in her place.

“But you kind of have to go when you’re requested” by the president of the United States, she said.

An announcement was expected later this month from the Pentagon and the White House about a possible Medal of Honor ceremony. But the news became public after Tiahrt’s Facebook post.

Sen. Pat Roberts and Rep. Mike Pompeo both called The Eagle after the Facebook posting to say that Kapaun deserved the honor.

In recent months, Roberts said, he had described to his “close friend” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta the many heroic acts of Kapaun, and urged him to urge Obama to bestow the award. Roberts, Pompeo and Sen. Jerry Moran said in a news release Friday night that Panetta has recommended that Kapaun receive the medal.

Pompeo said in recent months he met twice with White House staff, telling the story in some detail, urging the award be made. Both Pompeo and Roberts said Friday that they have urged officials to hurry in making a decision because they want Kapaun’s surviving – but aging – POW friends to see the ceremony in person.

“He agreed with that,” Roberts said of Panetta. “I don’t know how anyone could disagree with that once they hear the story.”

Read more. 

And read more about his extraordinary heroism at this link.  


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