President Barack Obama awarded the Medal of Honor Thursday to an Army chaplain from Kansas who risked his life dodging gunfire to provide medical and spiritual aid to wounded soldiers before dying in captivity more than 60 years ago during the Korean War.
“I can’t imagine a better example for all of us, whether in uniform or not in uniform, a better example to follow,” Obama said after presenting the nation’s highest military award for valor to a nephew of Capt. Emil Kapaun during a ceremony in the White House East Room.
The Roman Catholic priest was recognized for helping to carry an injured American for miles as Chinese captors led them on a death march, and for risking his life to drag the wounded to safety while dodging explosions and gunfire.
In November 1950, after Chinese soldiers overran U.S. troops near Unsan, Kapaun defied orders to evacuate, knowing it meant he would most certainly be captured. He pleaded with an injured Chinese officer to call out to his fellow Chinese to stop shooting, an act that spared the lives of wounded Americans.
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