Archbishop Hannan remembered as combat chaplain at WWII Museum

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wwltv.com

Posted on September 29, 2011 at 5:21 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 29 at 11:22 PM

Bill Capo / Eyewitness News

NEW ORLEANS -- "Obviously distraught and sad at the news."

That was National World War Two Museum Executive Director Nick Mueller's reaction when he learned of Archbishop Hannan's death. The museum still has the leather flight jacket he wore during World War II when he was a chaplain with the 82nd Airborne.

Hannan is credited with helping make the dream of this museum become a reality.

"We knew that he'd been a chaplain with the 82nd Airborne, so there was an obvious connection as we began to give birth to this museum as the D-Day Museum, and he was involved in helping us in every way he could," said Mueller.

In later years he was often seen at the museum, even on occasion wearing the Army Chaplain's uniform that still fit. As a young priest, Hannan endured the horrors of war as he comforted the living and the dying on battlefields.

"He was very courageous, and of course chaplains are out there in the thick of it just like the medics, without weapons, and so he was right there, and jumped into Normandy a few days after D-Day," noted Mueller.

Mueller said Hannan will have a lasting legacy here, in the form of a new exhibit now being planned.

"He brought to us the spiritual dimensions of the war, and largely because of him and his influence, we are now introducing into the master plan a small chapel where people can reflect on the spiritual aspects of the war, and also a chaplain's story, a chaplain's exhibit."

When it opens, it will undoubtedly be a popular exhibit with New Orleanians.

 

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