I was riding in my carpool on the way home from work yesterday when we noticed that an upcoming overpass had firetrucks with lights flashing and a giant American flag waving from its slightly extended ladder. Ehhh??? And subsequent overpasses had some sort of public servant representation and/or American flag waving.
Now, I remember seeing such a thing last year. Every. Single. Overpass. Filled with firetrucks or police. And I-35 was lined with spectators. This time around…not as much…perhaps because everyone was still gathering.
Last year, I concluded that the Patriot Guard were roused due to a military funeral. And that explained the ginormous motorcade that we passed by last year. This year, when I got dropped off at my car in Denton, I noticed in my rearview mirror the same ginormous motorcade. Such a loud roar of the motorcycles!
After getting home last night, my carpool’s driver wrote on my Wall that this gathering of public servants and motorcade was for the Medal of Honor recipients for this year.
The city of Gainesville, TX is the only city in the nation that hosts Medal of Honor recipients in a special way. You can visit this program here. Lots of honor, fanfare, and patriotism. And it’s crazy to me that the little town I work in … is kind of a big deal.
Anyway, I bring this up because today President Obama awarded, posthumously, Chaplain and Captain Emil J. Kapaun of the U.S. Army the Congressional Medal of Honor:
I’ve been hearing about Fr. Kapaun on Catholic radio over the past few weeks in anticipation of him receiving this honor. And wow. I don’t know that I could give proper credit to his acts of valor, courage, bravery, humility, service, etc…But President Obama summarizes some of his efforts, and some articles I’ve linked below also highlight who the type of man Fr. Kapaun is:
“For God and Country” – National Catholic Register
“Emil Kapaun, who ministered to Korean War POWs, to receive posthumous medal” – The Washington Post
Fr. Kapaun, in addition to receiving this honor, also has an open case for beatification, a part of the process in being recognized as a Catholic saint.
I want to read the book, The Miracle of Father Kapaun, to get to know more about him. Wartime seems to bring about Catholic saints (though he is not recognized as one yet…) because it is a grave time of adversity and even in all that hell, a little bit of heaven can be found (thought I heard Obama say something like that…). I was intrigued by St. Maximilian Kolbe and St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross from World War II and their stories. Both died in Nazi concentration camps. And here we have Fr. Kapaun who died in a POW camp during the Korean War. Hmm…
Anyway, I think it’s cool and awesome that a Catholic priest received this Medal of Honor. But at the same time, I want to thank all men and women who served in our military and I’m really grateful for their service. And as I’ve been reading and listening to veterans who have had personal interactions with Fr. Kapaun…they are really grateful for his service to them.