Friday, April 26, 2013

Fullbore Friday

A man's man, a man of God, and someone who really knew, "What would Jesus do?"
... Kapaun defied orders to evacuate, knowing it meant he would most certainly be captured. He pleaded with an injured Chinese officer to call out to his fellow Chinese to stop shooting, an act that spared the lives of wounded Americans.

As Kapaun was being led away, he came across another wounded American in a ditch and an enemy soldier standing over Sgt. Herbert Miller, ready to shoot. Kapaun pushed the enemy aside and helped Miller as they were taken captive. They arrived days later, by foot, at the village in Pyoktong, where a POW camp eventually was established.

"This is the valor we honor today -- an American soldier who didn't fire a gun, but who wielded the mightiest weapon of all, a love for his brothers so pure that he was willing to die so that they might live," Obama said.

At the camp, Kapaun cleaned others' wounds, convinced them to share scarce food, offered them his own clothes and provided spiritual aid and comfort. On Easter in 1951, he defied his communist captors by conducting Mass with a makeshift crucifix.

He died on May 23, 1951, at age 35, after six months in captivity.
As we see with those like Father (Captain) Emil Kapaun, USA who have been awarded the Medal of Honor - it gives one pause to consider your own character - and gives a challenge to meet a higher benchmark in your simple, soft, and easy daily life.

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of Congress the Medal of Honor to Chaplain (Captain) Emil J. Kapaun, United States Army.

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Chaplain Emil J. Kapaun distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 3d Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division during combat operations against an armed enemy at Unsan, Korea, from November 1-2, 1950. On November 1, as Chinese Communist Forces viciously attacked friendly elements, Chaplain Kapaun calmly walked through withering enemy fire in order to provide comfort and medical aid to his comrades and rescue friendly wounded from no-man’s land. Though the Americans successfully repelled the assault, they found themselves surrounded by the enemy. Facing annihilation, the able-bodied men were ordered to evacuate. However, Chaplain Kapaun, fully aware of his certain capture, elected to stay behind with the wounded. After the enemy succeeded in breaking through the defense in the early morning hours of November 2, Chaplain Kapaun continually made rounds, as hand-to-hand combat ensued. As Chinese Communist Forces approached the American position, Chaplain Kapaun noticed an injured Chinese officer amongst the wounded and convinced him to negotiate the safe surrender of the American Forces. Shortly after his capture, Chaplain Kapaun, with complete disregard for his personal safety and unwavering resolve, bravely pushed aside an enemy soldier preparing to execute Sergeant First Class Herbert A. Miller. Not only did Chaplain Kapaun’s gallantry save the life of Sergeant Miller, but also his unparalleled courage and leadership inspired all those present, including those who might have otherwise fled in panic, to remain and fight the enemy until captured. Chaplain Kapaun’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness, above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 3d Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, the 1st Cavalry Division, and the United States Army.
The New York Times has more detail on Chaplain Kapaun, read it all, but here is the Executive Summary:
... in May 1951, guards sent him into isolation, without food or water, to die. As Mr. Obama recounted, based on testimony from Father Kapaun’s comrades, the priest looked at the guards and said, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

His remains were never recovered. At war’s end, the surviving P.O.W.’s walked out of the camp with a four-foot wooden crucifix they had made in his honor.

Hat tip Croc.

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