Father Emil Kapaun, “Spellbound”

(Frank Chaffin) Today on Around Kansas, learn about Father Emil Kapaun, a Kansas Priest who died as a POW in Korea in 1951. Next, if you like being “Spellbound”, plan on attending next year’s Kansas Storytelling Festival in Downs. Then enjoy a tale about a note from Dwight D. Eisenhower that was never delivered – and why! We’ll end with tomatoes…fruit or vegetable?Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at agpromosource.com.

(Frank Chaffin) Well, the sun’s not up yet but we are. I’m Frank. (Deb Goodrich) I’m Deb. (Frank) And this is Around Kansas. Good morning. (Deb) Good morning. I understand that you have been dragged, kicking and screaming, into the next century with, you got a special app to talk about. (Frank) Yes, right. Finally, yes WREN radio, of course, is an Internet radio station. We finally got our own app. It’s for Android devices. We don’t have the iPhone app yet but soon we will. If you have an Android device just go to your Play Store and look for W-R-E-N and download it. It’s free. You’ve got a little icon there on your screen and you can take us wherever you go. (Deb) Now you can put this, take your iPhone or, excuse me, your Android – (Frank) Android, yes. (Deb) – and you can have that in your car and you can just look it up. (Frank) Well, and with the onboard Wi-Fi now, you can put that on the dashboard. Now it’s getting to be like the old push buttons on your radio. You’ve got Pandora, WREN radio or whatever on the screen. (Deb) Wow. (Frank) But take Pandora off and just leave WREN. That’s the only one you need. (Deb) Exactly. (Frank) We also launched a second station. We gave rebirth to the Lazer. You remember the Lazer of Lawrence? (Deb) Yes. (Frank) We brought that back. It’s ’70s and ’80s music only and it’s at Lazerlive.com. Now we’ve got a radio station that plays the 50, 60, ’70s and one that plays the ’70s and the ’80s. How about that? (Deb) What a world. What a world. (Frank) We have a new website coming very soon too that will be really exciting. It will be essentially an entertainment center. We’re really getting into the digital world and so I looked at a template of it here just a little while ago. When it’s up and running that’s a place you’re going to want to go on a daily basis. (Deb) That is so super. (Frank) And Around Kansas is going to be on it so – (Deb) Yes, with us. We’ve talked about this before and I – but you can’t help but think about it, Frank. The radio world that you and I came from and it’s like light-years. Our friend Orrin Friesen, Orrin talked about setting up his own radio station when he was a kid up in Nebraska. He was broadcasting I think from like the middle of the field with something propped on his dad’s pickup or something like that. This is – it’s – what a world. What a world. (Frank) Wren radio itself started in Lawrence, Kansas, in 1926, it was put on the air by the Bowersock Mills. Literally, the microphone was on a stack of flour sacks. (Deb) Wow. Isn’t that amazing? (Frank) Yes. (Deb) Well, congratulations on your new app. I am so jealous. I’m going to have to look into getting me an app. I don’t know what my app would do. (Frank) We could probably get you – (Deb) Talk you off the ledge to click on my app. (Frank) I bet we could get an Around Kansas app. (Deb) Oh man, wouldn’t that be cool? (Frank) Just there it is and then you’d see our smiling faces anytime. Well, you can do that anyway. (Deb) You can do that anyway. Right. You can do that on YouTube, or on Facebook oh our Facebook views. Oh my gosh, Frank. I can’t believe. (Frank) I know. (Deb) I look at some of the thousands and thousands of people looking at these stories. Can’t believe it. And you and me appreciate you. (Frank) I told our videographer here that just before noon I happened to check in on Facebook and at that time over 6,800 people had viewed our show this morning online. That’s pretty good. (Deb) Wow. (Frank) Yes, so thanks. (Deb) Thank you, we appreciate you. (Frank) Yes.

(Frank) Back again. Hey, you know this weekend is Memorial Day weekend. Wow. (Deb) Oh my gosh. (Frank) Yes, time to go have some fun, but the thing is Memorial Day is also a time to remember those who served and didn’t come back – (Deb) Exactly. (Frank) – to give us our freedom. (Deb) Exactly. People often confuse Veterans Day and Memorial Day. Memorial Day is truly to memorialize those folks who died in service. So, this is not Veterans Day, which honors, all veterans in November; that honors all veterans for their service. But Memorial Day is just for those folks who made the ultimate sacrifice. One of the ones from Kansas, a very well known story, but you can’t tell it enough, is Father Emil Kapaun from Wichita. His name is all over Wichita, God bless them for not forgetting him. What an incredible story from the Korean War era, which is when my dad served. Daddy went in just – he went in the service and two months later the Korean War ended. He was he was in that era. Korea gets lost in the shuffle sometimes when you talk except these days now that, oh boy, we don’t want to go there, but what an incredible man, Father Emil Kapaun. We’re so pleased to bring you his story. Father Emil Kapaun was born in Pilsen, Kansas, in the Diocese of Wichita, on Holy Thursday, April 20, 1916. He was ordained as a Priest for the Diocese in 1940 and entered the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps in 1944. Separated from the service in 1946, he re-entered the Army in 1948 and was sent to Japan the following year. In July of 1950, Father Kapaun was ordered to Korea, where he gained a reputation for his bravery in ministering to the soldiers in the thick of battle. During the Battle of Unsan on November 2 of that same year, he chose to remain with a number of wounded men rather than escape. He was taken as a prisoner of war. Forced to march 60 miles to the prison camp in the bitter cold, Father Kapaun carried his wounded comrades and encouraged them to do likewise. In the seven months in prison, Father Kapaun spent himself in heroic service to his fellow prisoners without regard for race, color, or creed, giving them help and hope when they needed it most. Ignoring his own ill health, he nursed the sick and wounded until a blood clot in his leg and pneumonia prevented his daily rounds. Moved to a so-called hospital, but denied medical assistance, his death soon followed on May 23, 1951. The Diocese of Wichita and the Vatican have begun the formal process that could lead to Father Kapaun’s canonization. In 1993, it was announced that Fr. Kapaun would receive the title of “Servant of God”. In 2015, the “Positio” on his life and virtues was presented to the Congregation for Saints at the Vatican for their official review. On this Memorial Day, we give thanks for his life and service, and express our gratitude for all those lives sacrificed for us.

(Frank) We’re back. If you’re just tuned in you’re back to Around Kansas. I’m Frank and she’s Deb and you’re not. I know bad joke. (Deb) And you’re grateful. (Frank) People really like stories, smike stories. When you were a kid and, well especially when you were in preschool and kindergarten and your early elementary days, you got to hear stories, picture books and all of that. Guess what? (Deb) You got a story. (Frank) I have a story about stories. (Deb) All right. (Frank) I didn’t know about this. I really did not until I did this story. Thing is it’s because it takes place in a very small town in Kansas called Downs. We’re not trying to belittle you but it’s like a population of 900. Once a year they have all these storytellers come in and they tell stories over a weekend. (Deb) What a fun way to spend the day of the weekend. Listen to stories. That sounds like my kind of place. (Frank) Well, take a look. Outside the Downs’ depot a cold north wind blew storm clouds across the dark spring sky. Inside the clock ticked toward midnight. Eighty pairs of eyes penetrated the very soul of the story teller as if to say, “We’ll be watching your every move.” Except for the rise and fall of his voice, you could hear a pin drop. The audience listening to Tim Lowry hung on every word. As he launched into “The Doctor to the Dead,” a lady in the front row poked her index finger into her right ear, hoping to remove any blockage so she could hear every syllable. Forty-five minutes later as Lowry finished his last ghost story, the audience remained glued to their seats. They wanted more. Instead, the storyteller began to visit with the listeners as they grudgingly rose from their chairs and shuffled toward the depot door. People traveled miles to hear the stories. They devoured every twist and turn along the joyous journeys. Two ladies from Chicago followed the artists from city to city and state to state to hear their yarns. Retired – that’s what they do with their time these days. Every spring for the last 24 years, the citizens of Downs bring nationally recognized talent to their community of 900 souls. This year Lowry, who makes his home in Summerville, S.C. headlined the Kansas Storytelling Festival held April 28-29. Lowry is best known for his folk tales and stories from American history. His best stories revolve around his rural childhood growing up in the hills of Tennessee. Other featured storytellers included Brian “Fox” Ellis, an author of song myth poetry and prose; Linda Gorham, who specializes in surprising twists and unconventional humor; and Adam Miller, a natural-born storyteller. Individual backgrounds and styles made each storyteller distinctive. Tellers were rotated to four different stages and sessions were planned around the interests of children, history, music and anecdotal tales. Anyone who attended the festival was hard-pressed to choose a favorite storyteller. All four kept each audience spellbound throughout their sessions. Every story included a bit of history and a lesson including one of Lowry’s yarns entitled, “Out ‘n No Book.” This story talks about the stuff teachers won’t tell you including a story about a Native American, “Indian yo-yo”, made of a crow’s foot. Ellis, on the other hand, re-enacted historical figures from our nation’s past including: Meriwether Lewis, Edgar Allen Poe and John Audubon. Decked out in the garb of that era, Ellis became a living, breathing caricature of these famous men. His stories and historical knowledge came alive on the stage. Gorham provided a twisted slant on the classic fairy tale, “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” Woven through her tale were references to more than 50 kinds of chocolate bars including Twix, Milky Way and Almond Joy. Some children say Gorham’s stories are “better than recess.” The final storyteller at this year’s festival, Miller, told a 30-minute tale about the tragic life of Woody Guthrie, there wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd. Guthrie, a folksinger from Oklahoma wrote more than 1,000 folk songs in his short life. And you know what? He didn’t use an original melody for any one of those songs including, “This Land is Your Land.” Believe me, you had to be there. Each story was a gem that created pictures of people and events in the listener’s mind. I don’t know about you, but next year during the last weekend of April I’ll be seated in Memorial Hall in Downs listening to the new batch of storytellers. Next year will mark the 25th anniversary of the Kansas Storytelling Festival that began in 1994. All the more reason to attend next year’s event. See you there.

(Frank) Here we are again. (Deb) This next story, of course, we’ve talked about Eisenhower a lot and if we did a weekly feature on Eisenhower you couldn’t cover his life and accomplishments. One of the things that struck me, I was researching at Eisenhower Center one time and I was going through his notes from his cabinet meetings and reading the transcripts from his cabinet meetings. You talk about somebody who could actually delegate and then like I’m not – he’s not standing over your shoulder. He’s like, “You do that” and he trusts people to do it. Well, obviously that came a lot from his military experience because you told people to do it and they just did it. Of course Ike’s most famous achievement, the Invasion of Normandy. I was struck when I read the letter he wrote in case Normandy failed and thus we forget that these things weren’t a given. He didn’t know how it was going to turn out. Nobody knew how it was going to turn. (Frank) Yes, he handed the letter to an aide and said, “If this fails, release this to the press.” (Deb) Yes, and it’s just such an incredible story. Of course, then in his victory speech, he was both humble and once again reminding us of what Memorial Day is all about. (Michael Goehring) It was more than 70 years ago that Kansan Dwight D. Eisenhower commanded the Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe. The invasion of Normandy had succeeded in June of 1944, though it was not a given. Stuffed in a coat pocket, and thankfully forgotten, was this note that Ike had written if the landing had failed: “Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that Bravery and Devotion to Duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.” He accidentally dated the letter June 5, rather than June 6. But the landing did work, and in May 1945, Germany surrendered. Ike encouraged troops to celebrate their hard-won victory, but he did not forget the horrific casualties and universality of destruction wrought by the war. He said: “As we celebrate Victory in Europe let us remind ourselves of comrades who could not live to see this day. The route you have traveled through hundreds of miles is marked by the graves of former comrades. From them has been exacted the ultimate sacrifice; blood of many nations—American, British, Canadian, French, Polish and others—has helped to gain the victory.”

(Frank) Around Kansas, people, places, and things that make Kansas a great place to live, work, and to come visit. (Deb) Like homegrown tomatoes. (Frank) Boom, boom, boom. I’m just thinking of Invasion of the Killer Tomatoes. I’m sorry to bring this – (Deb) Lame would be you to turn this perfectly sweet and wholesome episode into a horror movie, Frank. (Frank) Well that or Fried Green Tomatoes. (Deb) Fried Green Tomatoes. (Frank) That was a good movie. (Deb) I make some awesome fries. (Frank) Fried green tomatoes are great. (Deb) They are great. (Frank) Yes put them on the grill. (Deb) Those are good but that’s not fried green tomatoes, fried green tomatoes, Frank, are rolled in cornmeal and fried in hot grease. (Frank) Well yeah. (Deb) Preferably rolled. Have you ever wondered whether a tomato is – a tomato is – of course, it’s a plant yes. (Frank) Is it a plant? What? You’re going to translate, is it a fruit or is it a vegetable? (Deb) Thanks, Frank, I appreciate that. (Frank) There you go. (Deb) What do you think? (Frank) Well, I know it’s officially a fruit. (Deb) Sort of, sort of. Frank, nothing in this life – (Frank) Tomato or tomato, fruit or vegetable. (Deb) Nothing in this life is that simple, it would be, one would think, but no, nothing in this life is that simple. Believe it or not, it went all the way to the US Supreme Court over whether or not a tomato is a fruit or vegetable. Stay tuned to find out. Is it pronounced to-mA-toe or is it pronounced to-MAH-toe? Is it a fruit or is it a berry? It’s unlikely that the Aztecs pondered these pressing issues that worry us today. But we are certain they sang a few bars of “Homegrown Tomatoes” as they tossed them into the pot. As the song goes, there are only two things that money can’t buy and that’s true love and homegrown tomatoes! But money can buy the plants, the seeds, the soil, the fertilizer, the insecticide. Well, you get the picture. A lot of green may have gone into that brilliant red vegetable! Or is it a fruit? Yes, if you shrug and ask, who cares, well, I’ll tell you who cares, the United States Supreme Court! In 1887, the US tariff laws imposed a duty on vegetables, but not on fruits, likely because so many more vegetables were consumed than fruits. John Nix owned a large business selling produce and he sued the collector for the Port of New York who charged a tariff on tomatoes. The landmark case became Nix v Hedden. The trial was a lexicographer’s dream, with both sides submitting dictionary after dictionary as a source on whether or not the tomato would be taxed. The justices settled this controversy in May of 1893, by declaring that the tomato is a vegetable, based on the popular definition that classifies vegetables by use; that they are generally served with dinner and not dessert. The holding of this case applies only to the interpretation of the Tariff Act of 3 March 1883, and the court did not purport to reclassify the tomato for botanical or other purpose. Thus, the tomato remains a fruit if you are a botanist, but a vegetable if you are a lawyer or tariff collector. We are quite certain we have the pesky tariff collector to thank for declaring some of our other favorite foods vegetables rather than the fruits they really are: bell peppers, cucumbers, green beans, eggplants, avocados, and squashes of all kinds, such as zucchini and pumpkins, are all botanically fruits, yet cooked as vegetables. And we wonder why kids have trouble in science! Thankfully, none of the legal wrangling affects the flavor of a sun-ripened, homegrown tomato. Most of you already have blooms on your vines in the garden or on the patio, the bright yellow promise of the luscious fruit/vegetable to come. Others, like me, will trust in the generosity of their neighbors to share.

(Frank) Got to go, I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m Deb and we’ll see you somewhere – (Deb and Frank) Around Kansas.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at agpromosource.com.

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