Hometown of Fr. Emil Kapaun reacts to news of identified remains

Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 6:45 PM CST
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PILSEN, Kan. (KWCH) - Father Emil Kapaun is a Kansas native who served in the Korean War and now his remains are confirmed to be back in the United States. He died as a prisoner of war in Korea in 1951.

He was known as a hero for helping his fellow soldiers physically, emotionally and spiritually.

For decades, father Kapaun’s remains didn’t make it home. He was one of 100 Korean war soldiers from Kansas who were unaccounted for.

Those who live in his home town of Pilsen, like Harriet Bina, say this is exciting news.

“I was just overwhelmed. It’s something we have prayed for a long time, I didn’t know if it would happen in my lifetime.”

The family will decide his final resting place.

“I’m just happy I’m going to at least see this in my lifetime,” said Bina.

In July 2018, news of possible remains from the Korean War coming back to the U.S. gave Father Kapaun’s family hope that the priest was among them. Thursday’s announcement comes with closure, approaching three years later.

“There’s no words that can explain what the feelings are right now,” said Fr. Kapaun’s nephew, Ray Kapaun, of learning that his uncle’s remains were identified.

Ray Kapaun said he sees the breakthrough as a miracle.

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