By Chaplain (Lieut. Col.) David DeppmeierJune 12, 2013
On Sunday, June 2, the town of Pilsen, Kansas, paid its annual tribute to U.S. Army Chaplain (Capt.) Emil Kapaun, a Korean war hero who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on April 11.
Each year the town gathers for Father Kapaun Day, an annual celebration of the Catholic priest's life, which ended in a POW camp during the Korean War. The day includes a Catholic Mass conducted in Chaplain Kapaun's honor.
This year, U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains, Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Donald Rutherford concelebrated Mass with Rev. John Hotze, a Wichita Diocese priest and Rev. Darrin May, the local priest. Over 800 parishioners attended the service at St. John Nepomucene, the church where Chaplain Kapaun said his first Mass as a Catholic priest in 1940.
During the service, Ray Kapaun, Chaplain Kapaun's nephew, presented his uncle's Medal of Honor to the town of Pilsen. Chaplain Kapaun is the seventh Army chaplains to have been awarded the Medal of Honor through the years.
On the Friday prior to Sunday's events, over 150 people made a 60-mile walk from Wichita to Pilsen as a way of honoring Chaplain's Kapaun grueling march with fellow Soldiers to the prison camp following their capture at the Battle of Unsan in 1950.
To read the complete story of Father Kapaun Day, click on the link to the right to view reporter Roy Wenzl's story in The Wichita Eagle, or cut and paste the following link into your browser: http://www.kansas.com/2013/06/02/2829586/father-kapauns-medal-of-honor.html.