Every time I hear about themed months or “firsts” (first woman this or that), it’s sad to see. The first is that it seems to be the only way women get visibility for accomplishments and that we really should be beyond firsts … and still aren’t.
When I first got to Washington DC, everyone was still squabbling over the Vietnam Women’s Memorial. The men were actually saying that the women didn’t do anything … why should they be honored?
This woman was a secretary to a military officer during World War II in the Philippines. The Japanese attacked and captured her. But she was smart and thought about what she could do to help herself:
After American and Filipino forces surrendered in May 1942, Finch hid her American background and instead passed herself off as a Filipino citizen to avoid being placed in prison camps with other American civilians.
Then she helped out both the resistance and the POWs:
Landing a secretarial job with a Japanese-controlled fuel distribution company, she managed to direct supplies to the Filipino resistance movement as well as food and medicine to POWs, including the Army officer who was her former boss in the intelligence office.
Unfortunately, she got caught, and the Japanese tortured her. But she never broke. Then she was released by American forces.
When she moved to the U.S., then she enlisted in the Coast Guard!