President Barack Obama gave the highest honor to a Kansas war hero Thursday. The family of Father Emil Kapaun was at the White House to accept his Medal of Honor.
The President called Father Kapaun's story amazing. He recounted the time Father Kapaun spent as a Chaplain during the Korean War. He says the men that served along with Kapaun called him a Shepard in combat boots.
Kapaun pulled wounded soldiers to safety and attended to their injuries during the battle of Unsan. He was taken prisoner along with other American soldiers and carried severely injured fellow soldiers on his back. He escaped prison camp to steal food from nearby farms, bringing food to starving soldiers. He cared for the sick, washed them and shared stories of faith.
Father Kapaun died at the age of 35 in a North Korean prison camp after developing a blood clot and pneumonia in 1951.
When his fellow soldiers were freed, they continued to fight for their friend and hero. After six decades of working to get Father Kapaun the Medal of Honor, President Obama says he knows people are thinking it's about time.
President Obama says while he never met Father Kapaun, he gets a sense of the man he was. He says his heartland values of honesty, hard work, decency and humility made a difference to those he served with.
Father Kapaun's only brother and parents have both passed, so his nephew and other relatives accepted the award. Korean War veterans also attended the ceremony.
After the ceremony, the family was invited to a reception inside the White House. A second ceremony will be Friday at the Pentagon.