Sunday, May 7, 2017

My Gramma Was A Spy

Florence Finch, a WW2 heroine was born in the Philippines but her father was an American soldier. She married Charles Smith, a Navy man. In 1941 when the Japanese took Manilla, her husband was killed at war.  Florence sought revenge.  She hid her American ethnicity and landed a job writing ration vouchers for supplies to send to the Japanese Army.

Florence managed to divert food, clothing, medicine, and supplies to American prisoners until she was arrested. Thrown into a tiny cell for three years, Florence was tortured and starved. 

When American troops found her in 1945, her 80-pound body was frail but she still found strength to fight for freedom.  She settled in New York and joined the Coast Guard.  In 1947 she was awarded the Medal of Freedom.

Florence re-married, had two kids and lived an everyday life, her heroism a secret to most civilians until 1995.  In honor of her bravery and devotion, the Coast Guard dedicated and named a building after Florence Finch.

She died, not too long ago at 101 years old.

Florence is not my Gramma.  But I wonder who calls her Gramma. What man or woman can say, "My Gramma was a spy."  What young boy or girl can say, 'My Great-Gramma was a hero".

Did she tell her story to her children and grandchildren? How old were they when they heard of her journey for freedom and revenge?

Did they ever comprehend why her passion for duty to America was so great? What if her husband had lived? Would she have traveled the same path with the same devotion?

I'm sure her story impacted her family.  Probably gave them the courage to handle life, and put patriotism in their soul.

My grandmother wasn't a spy, but she also has a story of courage and journeys that compose my heritage.  Stories that mold the family into who we each are.   I pull her stories to my mind when I need some courage or a kick in the butt.

  What's your gramma's story? What's your heritage?