Mind you, Jones has a few things on his plate, like coaching the 12th-ranked team in the country—the highest that the Rainbows have ever risen in the AP Poll. But Jones runs a manic run-and-shoot offense, which means he hates waiting, and maybe he figured Wong had waited long enough. Or maybe Jones just thinks every serviceman deserves to get at least one letter. So when he was organizing a charity banquet to "honor Hawaii's great quarterbacks," the unsuspecting Wong was among the 17 former Rainbows QBs who were invited.
When it was time to introduce Wong, the lights dimmed and a five-minute, black-and-white video came on showing Wong zipping around right end, the Hawaii team on board a ship to a game in the States (the Rainbows practiced on the deck) and, of course, the day of infamy. Wong began to tear up. "I was thinking of the guys I played with and the coaches. One of the coaches just died earlier this year," he says.
And then a choked-up Jones got up and said, "M.K., it gives me great pleasure to give you something that's been long overdue."
In front of a watery-eyed, whooping crowd, the last known living member of the 1941 Hawaii football team ambled up to finally get his letter.
Wong was too thunderstruck to speak that night. But now he's decided, "I'm glad I had to wait so long. If I'd gotten my letter way back then, it'd be lost by now. Do you know my kids and grandkids didn't even know I played football?"
Afterward, Colt Brennan himself came up and shook Wong's hand, awed. "The guy has lived an incredible life," Brennan says. "He made all of us think about where we live and what we stand for."
And maybe that was the plan from the beginning. "It's long forgotten what those men went through," Jones says.
And thanks to you, Coach, it's not anymore.
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