Lt. John William Finn: Pearl Harbor's Last Hero, 68 Years Later
11:30 AM, Dec 7, 2009 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
Finn was presented with an American flag that had flown over all of the 11 aircraft carriers in the Navy's fleet. It was on the Abraham Lincoln in Seattle, then sent to San Diego for a day aboard the Ronald Reagan and the Nimitz, whose namesake the legendary Adm. Chester Nimitz put the Medal of Honor around John Finn's neck in 1942.
Here are a few pictures of the flag's journey , which was coordinated, appropriately, by each aircraft carrier's aviation ordnanceman.
Finn still gets around well, and participated in a wreath-laying ceremony with President Barack Obama at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on National Medal of Honor Day, with the help of walking sticks. He also regularly attends events for the dwindling number of Medal of Honor recipients still alive. In this video interview, filmed at a 2009 gathering in Texas, you'll see he hasn't lost his grit or his sense of humor, either.
"I'm 99 years old, and I might be wrong, but I think that the United States-our Republican form of government-will prevail," he said before adding with a chuckle: "I won't be around when it happens, unless it happens next month."
We were blessed to have had him with us on Dec. 7, 1941 and we're blessed to have him with us still today, 68 years later. Thank you, Lt. Finn.
This video is from an independent film called "A Hero's Welcome," which I'm now going to see.
Below the fold is another picture of Finn being awarded the Medal of Honor by Nimitz. Beside him is his wife Alice, with whom he lived until her death in 1998.