Heroes and History on John Finn's 100th Birthday

Filed under: , , , by: Krystal

At the end of last month, Dana had the incredible honor of being invited to another one of John Finn's many 100th birthday parties. This one was held at Naval Air Station, North Island Coronado, CA on the 25th of July. Over 400 people were in attendance. Dignitaries, military brass from every branch and elected officials gathered with long time friends and several of John's old Navy shipmates. Of course, such a gathering is filled with historic import.

Robert J. Modrzejewski (Marine Corp, MOH, Vietnam) signs John's 100th birthday image.

Dana wrestled with what to present John on his big day. He finally settled on a gift that would be made more memorable by the other "special guests" we heard were invited — 12 of the other living Medal of Honor recipients. With the help of our friend Mark at Color Reflections, we created this mounted, archival image of John holding the sign from the highway near his home that has been renamed in his honor. In the background is the unfurled Medal of Honor society flag from the parade at Coronado on July 4th.

The party also afforded the opportunity to take this once-in-a-lifetme picture of the gathering of these American Heroes.

Left to Right standing: Leonard B. Keller, Richard A. Pittman, Drew Dix, Michael E. Thornton, Jay R. Vargas, Thomas R. Norris, Robert J. Modrzejewski, Walter J. Marm, Walter D. Ehlers, Jon R. Cavaiani

James A. Taylor, the widow of Admiral James B. Stockdale, and John F. Finn

Perhaps the most well traveled "guest" was this United States flag presented to John by the U.S. Navy. It was flown aboard every active duty aircraft carrier in preparation for John's big day. We've noted before the immense esteem John is held in by our serving sailors. He was quite touched by this gesture of respect.

Since Dana is a Navy man himself, he couldn't resist asking Lil Larkin (John's long time friend) to take this picture of him with a model of the Lockheed S3 Viking, presented to John by the VS-29 ordnancemen. It's the very same plane Dana served aboard during his tours of duty during the Gulf War. Next to it, is a picture of the sailors aboard the U.S.S. Stennis spelling out John's name out on the flight deck.

Here's the link to the Navy Compass newspaper's story.

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