Pilsen Catholics to attend Medal of Honor presentation

Ceremony to stream live from the White House

Staff writer

At least seven members of St. John Nepomucene Catholic Church at Pilsen will be present Thursday at the White House when President Barack Obama confers the Medal of Honor posthumously on Father Emil Kapaun. They are Bob and Carol Makovec, Bob and Rose Mary Neuwirth, Laverne and Harriet Bina, and Carole Sklenar.

They will travel to the Pentagon the next day for a ceremony in which Father Kapaun will be inducted into the Army Hall of Fame.

“I feel very humble to be able to witness such a well deserved honor,” Carol Makovec said. “Through reading some of the accounts of the prisoners that were in camp with Father Kapaun, I can’t help but feel that he was truly a man of God and no doubt made a big difference in the survival rate of the prisoners by teaching them how they could help each other to find the strength to make it out of the camp. Hopefully, sainthood will not be too long in coming to Father also.”

“I am very proud and excited to be included in the people going (to Washington, D.C.) and for my part in spreading the story of Father Kapaun these last 14 years or so,” Rosemary Neuwirth said. “I am sad that so many of the POWs and people here in Marion County that knew Father have died and are not here to share this exciting event.”

Sklenar is excited and feels honored to have been invited to the ceremony. She said the opportunity to visit the White House and the Pentagon is the latest of many blessings she has received while working with the Cause for Sainthood for Kapaun.

“Father Kapaun has definitely been looking down and with God’s help, has given blessings far beyond any dream I have ever had,” she said.

On the day of the Medal of Honor ceremony, there will be an ad on the Army website http://www.army.mil/medalofhonor/kapaun that people can click on to view the ceremony. It will be active just a few minutes before the actual ceremony.

There also will be live feeds at the White House website: http://www.whitehouse.gov/ for the Thursday ceremony and at http://www.pentagon.mil/ for the Friday ceremony at the Pentagon. The White House ceremony is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. and the Pentagon ceremony at 1 p.m. Central Daylight Time.

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