You may recall that the day Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas received his World Series championship ring in April, it was only the second-most important thing to happen that day.
Moustakas also met Benedict Lohman Sr., a retired Marine who spent three years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp, before the Royals’ second game of the season.
“Coming from the ring ceremony, I was already on a pretty emotional high,” Moustakas told The Star’s Chris Fickett. “And I didn’t think there was anything that could trump that.
“Being able to shake his hand, a real true hero, that definitely trumped it.”
Unfortunately, Lohman passed away last Saturday at the age of 97. The funeral was Thursday, and Moustakas tweeted a photo from the day he met Lohman and wrote:
RIP to a True American Hero Benedict “Ben” Lohman. An honor and special memory of an Opening Day I will never forget
When Lohman was introduced ahead of the ceremonial first pitch, the Royals noted that Lohman enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1940. Lohman was sent to China, and his regiment went to the Philippines a week before the Pearl Harbor attack on Dec. 7, 1941. In May 1942, Lohman was taken prisoner and sent Osaka, Japan, where he grew rice and worked on oil tankers before he was liberated when the war ended.
An obituary in the Leavenworth Times noted “Benedict had a very fun sense of humor, enjoyed making people smile, was strong willed and was quick with one liners and ability to sing out songs of the 30s and 40s.”
He clearly made an impact on Moustakas during their visit.