Threats to freedom of speech, writing and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen. -George Orwell

Friday, April 19, 2013


Servant of God, Father Emil Kapaun
Father Emil Kapaun was a priest and Korean War hero from the hamlet of Pilsen, Kansas.  He led an extraordinary life and may be on the road to sainthood.  He died at the age of 35 in a Chinese POW camp in 1951.  Last week he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Kapaun was so beloved that U.S. prisoners of war who served him began calling for him to receive the military’s highest honor on the day they were released from their North Korean POW camp 60 years ago.

"The first prisoners out of that camp are carrying a wooden crucifix, and they tell the story at length," says Roy Wenzel, a reporter at the Wichita Eagle who wrote an eight-part series and a book about Kapaun.

Korea, 1950: An exhausted G.I. is aided by Father Kapaun (right) and Capt. Jerome Dolan
Father Kapaun's Medal of Honor citation reads as follows:
Chaplain Emil J. Kapaun, while assigned to Headquarters Company, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism, patriotism, and selfless service between Nov. 1-2, 1950. During the Battle of Unsan, Kapaun was serving with the 3rd Battalion of the 8th Cavalry Regiment. As Chinese Communist forces encircled the battalion, Kapaun moved fearlessly from foxhole to foxhole under direct enemy fire in order to provide comfort and reassurance to the outnumbered Soldiers. He repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire to recover wounded men, dragging them to safety. When he couldn't drag them, he dug shallow trenches to shield them from enemy fire. As Chinese forces closed in, Kapaun rejected several chances to escape, instead volunteering to stay behind and care for the wounded. He was taken as a prisoner of war by Chinese forces on Nov. 2, 1950.
After he was captured, Kapaun and other prisoners were marched for several days northward toward prisoner-of-war camps. During the march Kapaun led by example in caring for injured Soldiers, refusing to take a break from carrying the stretchers of the wounded while encouraging others to do their part.
Once inside the dismal prison camps, Kapaun risked his life by sneaking around the camp after dark, foraging for food, caring for the sick, and encouraging his fellow Soldiers to sustain their faith and their humanity. On at least one occasion, he was brutally punished for his disobedience, being forced to sit outside in subzero weather without any garments. When the Chinese instituted a mandatory re-education program, Kapaun patiently and politely rejected every theory put forth by the instructors. Later, Kapaun openly flouted his captors by conducting a sunrise service on Easter morning, 1951.
When Kapaun began to suffer from the physical toll of his captivity, the Chinese transferred him to a filthy, unheated hospital where he died alone. As he was being carried to the hospital, he asked God's forgiveness for his captors, and made his fellow prisoners promise to keep their faith. Chaplain Kapaun died in captivity on May 23, 1951.
Chaplain Emil J. Kapaun repeatedly risked his own life to save the lives of hundreds of fellow Americans. His extraordinary courage, faith and leadership inspired thousands of prisoners to survive hellish conditions, resist enemy indoctrination, and retain their faith in God and country. His actions reflect the utmost credit upon him, the 1st Cavalry Division, and the United States Army.

Father Kapaun celebrates the Mass
I especially love the way Father Kapaun used his unshakable faith to defeat all efforts by the Chinese Communists to indoctrinate the prisoners.  One of the premises of my blog is that such attempts at indoctrination (in a less specific way) continue to this day by those whose world view is built upon the lies of Marxism, the foolishness of Freud, and the nihilist black hole of atheismFather Kapaun's story is truly inspiring.  

Part 1: Father Emil Kapaun, a chaplain during the Korean War, braves gunfire to save a wounded soldier

Part 2: During the viciousness of the Death March, Father Kapaun cares for his fellow prisoners

Part 3: Father Kapaun emerges as a spiritual leader in prison camps

Part 4: Father Kapaun leads POWs in a quiet rebellion against the Communists, angering the guards

Part 5: Father Kapaun more openly challenges the guards while his health declines

Part 6: Prisoners attempt to hide Father Kapaun's illness from the guards, who isolate and kill him

Part 7: POWs begin pleading to reward Father Kapaun with the Medal of Honor and sainthood

Part 8: A medical recovery in Sedgwick County is called a modern-day miracle and is attributed to Father Kapaun


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