UBARoyal Belgian Amateur Radio Union

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Photo: Couloir



Damians pictureStarting a few weeks from now, you will regularly hear the somewhat unusual callsign ON4DAMIAN on the air. Here is the story on this special call. ON4DAMIAN is a special station commemorating “the Greatest Belgian”, a title Father Damian earned by a popular poll during a series of TV programs where Flemish people were searching for a Belgian, worth this honour.

During similar TV programs the British chose Churchill, the French De Gaulle, the Germans Adenauer, all great statesmen, the Flemish chose Father Damian, born Jozef De Veuster, an unselfish philanthropist, a missionary priest.

Damian s pictureWho is this Father Damian, what’s so special about him, what makes him so great?

It is well known that through the ages Belgium, and Flanders more in particular, has sent out large numbers of missionary priests all over the world. Father Damian was one of them. In 1873, at the age of 33 he traveled half around the world to the island of Molokai in Hawaii.

In 1938 the process for his beatification was introduced in Belgium. In 1996 Father Damian was declared blessed by pope John Paul II. In 1959 the territory of Hawaii became a US state, and each state was allowed to place statues of their dead in the Statuary Hall of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. Hawaii erected a statue of Father Damian (see photo to the left). This statue is the only one in the Capitol building of a non American, but chosen by the state of Hawaii to honour one of their great heroes.

In Belgium he is now regarded by the Flemish community as the “greatest” Belgian ever.

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