If you have ever seen a World War II movie about Pearl Harbor, you have probably seen the following scene during the attack. As Japanese planes strafe Pearl, a lone man runs out to a machine gun and starts firing at the Japanese. That lone man was Lt. John Finn. His Congressional Medal of Honor citation reads as follows:
For extraordinary heroism distinguished service, and devotion above and beyond the call of duty. During the first attack by Japanese airplanes on the Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, on 7 December 1941, Lt. Finn promptly secured and manned a .50-caliber machinegun mounted on an instruction stand in a completely exposed section of the parking ramp, which was under heavy enemy machinegun strafing fire. Although painfully wounded many times, he continued to man this gun and to return the enemy's fire vigorously and with telling effect throughout the enemy strafing and bombing attacks and with complete disregard for his own personal safety. It was only by specific orders that he was persuaded to leave his post to seek medical attention. Following first aid treatment, although obviously suffering much pain and moving with great difficulty, he returned to the squadron area and actively supervised the rearming of returning planes. His extraordinary heroism and conduct in this action were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
Lt. Finn died at the age of 100 this week. Admiral Chester Nimitz presented Lt. Finn with the Medal of Honor on September 15, 1942. When presenting the medal, Admiral Nimitz said that Lt. Finn, like many of those who serve out nation, never intended to be a hero. He just did his duty.
Admiral Nimitz would probably say the same thing of all of our hero's who have died serving our nation. I hope you have a good Memorial Day, and thank you to all the soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom.