Legacy of Father Emil Kapaun lives on at Kapaun Mount Carmel High School

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WICHITA, Kansas — Nearly everyone at Kapaun Mount Carmel High School was glued to their television Thursday afternoon.

Watching a moment in history as President Barack Obama presented the family of Emil Kapaun with the medal of honor.

Students say it’s an honor attached to an important life lesson.

“Quick announcement so that everyone is aware of how significant of an event this is,” said Principal Chris Bloomer.

Students sitting in history class at Kapaun Mount Carmel High School had their eyes set on the television.

They were eagerly waiting to witness a part of history Thursday afternoon.

“He can be traced in rural Kansas for being a prisoner of war in Korea,” said MSNBC News Anchor Tamron Hall.

President Obama presented the nephew of Father Emil Kapaun with military’s highest award called the Medal of Honor.

The award recognizes the Chaplain for his bravery and heroic act during the Korean war.

“Even though this Medal of Honor is for Emil it’s for the these guys as well,” said Mike Dowe, Korean War POW. ” They would tell everybody and anybody they didn’t want the story to die.”

Prisoners of War recounted their stories that Father Kapaun risked his own life saving wounded soldiers from the battle lines and helping prisoners of war.

Kapaun spread the message of faith, hope, and courage to soldiers during time of despair.

“We can all use his examples to remember that when everyone is in a difficult situation we need to put others before ourselves,” said Katie Kiser, junior at Kapaun Mt. Carmel High School. “Even when we’re in danger we need to trust in God or a higher power.”

The school was named after Kapaun more than 40 years ago.

Students are hoping to keep his legacy and memory alive not only in the history books, but in the catholic church as well.

“The Medal of Honor is great but we want him to go on to get the sainthood,” said Jake Dreiling, senior at Kapaun Mt. Carmel High School. “It’s an amazing honor for us, but a huge accomplishment for him. Everyone that is represented by him especially in Pilsen and Mount Carmel.”

The Diocese of Wichita has been part of the process to declare Father Kapaun a saint for several years now.

Father Kapaun will be honored again on Friday at the Pentagon where he will be inducted to the Hall of Heroes.

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