“Father Kapaun had several chances to get out but he wouldn’t take them”

The BBC brings us the story of US army chaplain and Catholic priest Emil Kapaun who is being considered for the Medal of Honor and for sainthood by the Church:

FrKapaunOn 2 November 1950, Father Kapaun made the decision that led to his death.

The Korean war chaplain was in the middle of a firefight, with the American forces overrun by Chinese soldiers outside a crossroads town called Unsan in North Korea.

Lighting forest fires to frustrate US reconnaissance planes, the Chinese surrounded the Americans and pressed in, attacking with small arms, grenades and even bayonets.

Meanwhile, Chaplain Emil Kapaun, a Catholic priest from a farming village in Kansas, gathered the wounded in a dugout shelter made of logs and straw.

When American officers ordered the able-bodied to retreat, Father Kapaun, a 35-year-old captain, refused to leave the wounded.

As the Chinese soldiers began lobbing grenades into the dugout, Kapaun negotiated a surrender.

“Father Kapaun had several chances to get out,” Warrant Officer John Funston later told a Catholic priest who collected accounts of Father Kapaun’s actions in Korea, “but he wouldn’t take them.”

His capture and forced march northward with hundreds of other American prisoners was merely the beginning of Father Kapaun’s trial, an ordeal that ended in his death from starvation, cold and lack of basic medical care at a prison camp in North Korea six months later.

For his heroism, a group of Kansas politicians is pushing to have him awarded the Medal of Honor, America’s highest military decoration.

Reports of Kapaun’s selfless bravery have got him shortlisted for another rare high honour: the Catholic Church has named Kapaun Servant of God, the first step toward sainthood, and the Vatican has opened a formal inquiry into whether he merits canonisation.

Read the rest and check out the video at the link.

H/T to The Catholic Science Geek.

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