BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY
[March 25 was a National Day Honoring MOH patriots. See the President’s Message, March 24. The following is a later Editorial from the New York Post on the subject]
NY POST EDITORIAL
April 1, 2007 -- Conspicuous gallantry was in abundance last Tuesday at the New York Stock Exchange - where 31 Congressional Medal of Honor recipients gathered for the NYSE's fifth annual Circle of Honor Dinner.
Those heroes, who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, are the sort for whom uncommon valor was, indeed, a common virtue.
The oldest was John Finn, 97, of Pine Valley, Calif. - whose courage as a Navy anti-aircraft gunner during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor resulted in his being the first recipient of the nation's highest award for bravery under fire during World War II.
"One minute I'm in bed with a pretty blonde," Finn recalled and "the next I'm taking fire . . . thinking, how'd this happen?"
No doubt it was more complicated than that; suffice it to say that Finn was seriously wounded during the battle, survived to win a naval officer's commission and served with distinction for the remainder of the war.
The stock exchange event followed by days the Navy's announcement in New York that its newest guided missile destroyer will be named in honor of Marine Cpl. Jason L. Dunham - an upstater who last year was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for exceptional heroism during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Dunham threw himself over a live enemy grenade to save the lives of fellow Marines - earning only the second Medal of Honor in the Iraq War.