The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

Statement by the President on the Passing of John William Finn

Michelle and I were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Retired Navy Lt. John William Finn, the oldest living Medal of Honor recipient.   Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones at this time.  Lt. Finn received the Medal for the heroism he displayed during the attack on Pearl Harbor.   Under a torrent of gunfire, Lt. Finn defended his fellow Sailors, holding his position for two hours until the skies went quiet, despite suffering serious wounds.  Like many of those who have served our nation with such distinction, Lt. Finn often said that he never intended to be a hero.  Instead, he felt that he was simply doing his duty.  But his modesty does not diminish his extraordinary conduct – or the incredible example he has set for our men and women in uniform and for all Americans. I had the privilege of meeting Lt. Finn last year, and I was struck by his warmth and humility.  As we mark Memorial Day, and pay tribute all who have fallen in defense of this nation, the passing of Lt. Finn is a reminder of the sacrifices that generations have made to preserve the freedoms we hold dear.

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