WWII Heroes of the Doolittle Raid Give Last Toast

I love history. I was a social studies major in college, but only because my University of choice didn’t offer an education license with a history degree. In college I “wasted’ money because I had way too many credits when I graduated, but it was because I loved taking history classes. I realized pretty quickly that I loved the drama and romance of American history. There really is nothing like the history of our nation in this world, because no other nation’s history was so often explained with the Providential Hand of God as its director. Sure, every nation is moved along by God’s providence – but America has embraced the idea and used it to explain the miracle of our existence and our success.

One of my favorite moments in our history is the Doolittle Raid of WWII.

At the time of the Doolittle raid, America was reeling, the Japanese were terrorizing us in the Pacific, and the Nazi’s were on the march in Europe and North Africa. Our morale was low, and it seemed that the forces of evil would triumph. Then these brave American boys would volunteer for what must have seemed like a suicide mission that would physically accomplish very little, but they knew could psychologically have a tremendous impact – on both Americans and the Japanese.

It is often seen as the first step in defeating the fascists in WWII.

doolittle1987The surviving Raiders meet each year to make a toast saluting the fallen and remembering the event that changed the course of the war. Well, this past weekend in Dayton, OH 3 of the 4 surviving airmen met for one last time to remember their famous raid. They last met in the spring in Fort Walton, FL but concerned they may not be around in the spring of 2014 to make a final toast, they decided to move their reunion up into the fall. Hundreds gathered to remember all of the heroes from the raid and to thank these men for their bravery.

The 80 silver goblets in the ceremony were presented to the Raiders in 1959 by the city of Tucson, Ariz. The Raiders’ names are engraved twice, the second upside-down. During the ceremony, white-gloved cadets pour cognac into the participants’ goblets. Those of the deceased are turned upside-down.

The cognac is from 1896, the year Doolittle was born.

 

There’s a reason we call the folks who brought us through the second World War “the greatest Generation.” They had more than their fair share of boys like the ones who volunteered for the Doolittle Raid. Thank you for being willing to risk everything for your country. You were, are and will always be heroes.

 

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