We are paying tribute to our Veterans today! Especially those of the “Greatest Generation.” I found this story very touching. When these men served, many of them were in their late teens and early 20’s. This special group of men known as the Doolittle Raiders, the 80 men who risked their lives on a World War II bombing mission on Japan after the attack on Pearl Harbor were toasted one last time by their surviving comrades and honored with a Veterans Day weekend of fanfare shared by thousands.
Three of the four surviving Raiders attended the toast on Saturday at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. Their late commander, Lt. Gen. James "Jimmy" Doolittle, started the tradition but they decided this ceremony would be their very last.
"May they rest in peace," Lt. Col. Richard Cole, 98, said before he and fellow Raiders — Lt. Col. Edward Saylor, 93, and Staff Sgt. David Thatcher, 92 — sipped cognac from specially engraved silver goblets. The 1896 cognac was saved for the occasion after being passed down from Doolittle.
Hundreds invited to the ceremony, including family members of deceased Raiders, watched as the three each called out "here" as a historian read the names of all 80 of the original airmen. The fourth surviving Raider, Lt. Col. Robert Hite, 93, couldn't travel to Ohio because of health problems. But son Wallace Hite said his father, wearing a Raiders blazer and other traditional garb for their reunions, made his own salute to the fallen with a silver goblet of wine at home in Nashville, Tenn., earlier in the week. Hite is the last survivor of eight Raiders who were captured by Japanese soldiers. Three were executed; another died in captivity.
A B-25 bomber flyover helped cap an afternoon memorial tribute in which a wreath was placed at the Doolittle Raider monument outside the museum. Museum officials estimated some 10,000 people turned out for Veterans Day weekend events honoring the 1942 mission credited with rallying American morale and throwing the Japanese off balance. God bless them all and where would we be if not for all who have played a part in the defense and security of freedom all over the globe.
To those who have served, thank you! To those still serving, thank you and we continue praying for your safety and return home to your families.
To my dad, a Korean War veteran, thank you for your service. I’m proud of you and I love you!