The day before millions of DC area residents decamped for beaches, mountains, and other sundry vacation locales or planned to celebrate the weekend at roof top soirées and backyard barbeques John Finn died at the ripe age of 100. When he was a 32 year old Navy Chief Petty Officer, Mr. Finn was awakened one December morning by the sounds of munitions exploding. He raced to the Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay where he was stationed to find it under attack by Japanese forces. Most of the base was already engulfed in flames but CPO Finn removed a .50 caliber machine gun from one of the fiery planes, found a training stand on which to mount it, and ran towards an open field for the best vantage point from which to fight back.
Japanese planes strafed the field with gunfire but CPO Finn held his position for more than two hours despite suffering from 21 different shrapnel wounds. Just in case that act of conspicuous gallantry wasn’t enough, after receiving medical treatment, Finn somehow returned to his station later in the same day to arm planes that weren’t damaged.
For his heroism, CPO Finn was awarded the Medal of Honor. Until the day before this Memorial Day Weekend 2010, Finn was the oldest living Medal of Honor Recipient. This holiday was created to give honor to those who have lost their lives in uniformed service to this country. While Mr. Finn was able to lead a long life after the attack on Pearl Harbor, he was the very personification of the Greatest Generation, the embodiment of armed service to this country.
If you happen to stop by this space before enjoying the last day of this three day weekend, we hope that this post serves as an added reminder to express gratitude for those who have given the last full measure of devotion to our country.
My favorite DC Blog post related to Memorial Day – Sometimes the universe seems to direct us to exactly where we should be with or without our knowledge. One rainy November day Suicide Blond was so directed to Arlington National Cemetery.