Editorial Salute - 4/11/13 - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Editorial Salute - 4/11/13

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A veteran of World War II and Korean receives our nation's highest military honor,  posthumously.  Family members of Army Chaplain Captain Emil Kapaun will be presented with the Medal of Honor, April 11th, in tribute to his tremendous courage, heroics and sacrifice, now some 62-years after his death.

The Chaplain was serving with the First Cavalry Division in Korea, when the units he was with encountered overwhelming enemy fire.  In the midst of the firefight, he bravely moved among the soldiers down, bringing encouragement and medical aid to the wounded, totally ignoring his own safety.   Eventually outnumbered and overcome by the enemy, those soldiers who could retreat were ordered to do so.  The Chaplain chose to stay with the wounded, knowing his likely fate.  Captured, he and his fellow prisoners were then forced to walk 85-miles to their detention encampment.  Nonetheless, the Chaplain's self-less service to his comrades continued in captivity, as he repeatedly, and at obvious risk, stole food from guards to give to those prisoners with him.  Sadly, he would never again experience freedom, perishing in prison from a blood-clot in 1951.

In short order, the Distinguished Service Cross was awarded to his family.  Six decades later, upon review of his remarkable compassion and bravery, at the risk of his life, in combat and as a POW, that long-ago tribute has now been upgraded to the Medal of Honor.  Chaplain Emil Lapaun.  What an amazing servant of God, as is the calling shared by all of our  military Chaplains.  Whenever the need, ever-there for prayer, counseling and comfort, serving continually, the spiritual and emotional needs of our nation's courageous warriors.  

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