During the recent month-long series of celebrations for the 100th birthday of Medal of Honor Recipient John W. Finn, John was more-than happy to carry out a special request to administer the oath of reenlistment for a fellow Navy Aviation Ordnanceman.
This particular reenlistment ceremony was scheduled to take place during the 4th of July Parade held in Coronado, California.
During the dinner party, Melissa rose to her feet and expressed her deep appreciation for the honor of being selected to have the most-revered Ordnanceman in Naval history, John Finn, administer the oath; and I think there wasn’t one person in attendance who wasn’t deeply moved by Melissa’s words... as she stated: "We're not among heroes, we're among angels."As the party was relaxing after a fine evening meal, Melissa took the time to step outside so as to take a few pictures of the bike to show her fellow Ordnancemen aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz.
And I have to believe by the shear number of photos Melissa took of the bike that she found it pretty special... what with the Aviation Ordnance community's favorite hero engraved on the tank.
Melissa even got on the phone to tell her friends about the bike as well as how excited she was to be eating dinner with the hero of the Aviation Ordnance world, John Finn.
The following day, Independence Day 2009, brought with it spectacular blue skies and parade fans 12-deep on both sides of the nearly 2 mile long parade route.
And with fellow Aviation Ordnancemen marching in escort of the classic GTO convertible carrying the oldest living Medal of Honor Recipient, Melissa and her mother waited with great anticipation of the arrival of John at the reviewing stand.
With a spotless inspection-ready dress white uniform, AO3 Thorton stood at attention, and with right hand raised, took the oath of reenlistment from the Medal of Honor who her fellow Ordnancemen hold as their greatest example of Naval service.
And what a wonderful gift to remember this special event by, that of a beautifully framed picture of John Finn, along with a copy of his Medal of Honor Citation, and adorned with three separate Medal of Honor challenge coins, another of the Purple Heart, and an Ordnanceman coin; something any AO would be extremely proud to have on their wall.
And that wonderful feeling Melissa left us with is why we all were so incredibly shocked and saddened to hear the news that Melissa was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident only two weeks after the 4th of July.