A little over a year ago I met some very amazing men. The all had received the Medal Of Honor and wore it with pride for all those who served with them. None of them claimed it as their own. I was told before going to this gathering I had to take Guinness and drink one with Lt John Finn. And so I did.
On Dec 7th 1941 many Heroes were made. John Finn is one of those men who received the Medal of Honor for his bravery on that day. He said he didn’t deserve it and simply held it for all the others who fought and died that December day. I disagree. On that Dec. Morning John held his position firing on the enemy for over two hours even though he himself had been hit 21 times. Several of his wounds serious. Once the skies were quiet he sought medical help after being ordered to and then returned to help rearm the remaining airplanes at Kanoehe Bay. Because Kanoehe was hit 5 minutes before Pearl Harbor many believe that John Finn is the first one to earn the Medal of Honor during WW2. But when you sit and listened to his stories he told you of his men not of himself. Even at 99 years old his mind was sharp and he loved to share his stories with those who would listen.
Today we lost his hero.. He was 100, nearly 101. I knew he had been ill. My heart breaks that we lost this hero. Words he spoke to me changed my life. I will never forget him overhearing a conversation I was having stopping his conversation and pointing at me saying “I like you”. Very seldom have words made me so proud as being told I was liked by John Finn. After that he and I sat for nearly 2 hours and just talked. I listened to his stories about his wife and his men and he listened to mine about my son and his brothers.
I’m sad I will never get to sit with Mr. Finn again but in a odd way I am happy for him. He has peace now. He is with his beloved wife Alice. And I have to believe he got one hell of a welcome to Heaven. I can see them lining up to have a Guinness with Mr. Finn. I had the honor and now I need to believe it is my son’s turn.
Thank you John.. for your service and for being so kind to me. Thank you for defining my mission. I was honored to know you sir.