This book, published in 2010 in Opelousas, Louisiana, is about a local priest who became a military chaplain during World War II and died as a prisoner of war in the Pacific. He is considered a Saint in Southwestcentral Louisiana, and I enjoyed reading this book.
Born in 1912, Father Lafleur was an associate priest in Southwestcentral Louisiana before he joined the military as a chaplain in early 1941. He earned the Distinguished Service Cross for his selfless service at Clark Field in the Philippines on December 8th, 1941, when the Japanese bombed the airfield. For the next six months he stayed with the 19th Bombardment Unit evading capture; once captured by the Japanese, he looked after the spiritual and physical welfare of his men at considerable personal cost to himself. He died when the Shinyo Maru, an unmarked prison ship holding some 700 American prisoners of wsr, was sunk by the Americans on September 7th, 1944; when last seen, he was assisting other men up the ladder out of the hold and refusing to leave so long as there was anyone else to aid. The title of the book comes from a favorite quote of Father Lafleur’s from Marshal Michel Ney (1769 – 1815), who allegedly told his executioners, “Venez voir comment meurt un soldat en bataille, mais il ne meurt pas” (“Come see how a soldier dies in battle, but he dies not.”)
Father Lafleur is considered a Saint in Southwestcentral Louisiana, and I am glad to own this book.