I recently saw the below video and it brought me back to my youth. You see, my father was a big airplane buff. He grew up during WWII and as a child, he would watch the airplanes training and then flying off to war. He grew up loving (and instilling in me a love for) history, and I don’t think there was an Air show within 200 miles of us in Indiana we ever missed. At least once a year, we would go over to the Wright Patterson Air force Museum to see what they added….and this story in particular brings back further memories.
Anyone who even remotely pays attention to US History in High School knows of this raid (if not, read HERE), but what started me searching was seeing those 17 B-25s on the tarmac. I wanted to know how that compared to the actual raid itself.
The video is of the recent 68th Reunion of the Doolittle Raiders and consisted of 17 B-25’s, and to my surprise….this was actually one MORE than participated in the raid itself (15 designated and one added at the last minute). That is just amazing.
I’m sure many of you are wondering why this is on a blog called Smokes and Booze? I retort….it’s my blog and WHY NOT?
But there is an additional part to the story.
In honor of the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo, the citizens of Tucson, Arizona presented a set of 80 sterling goblets to the Raiders following WW II. In turn, they were presented to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs by General Doolittle on behalf of the surviving members of the Raiders for safekeeping and display between reunions. On 19 April 2006, the memorabilia were transferred to the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
The silver goblets themselves are housed in a special glass-enclosed trophy case. Each of the goblets has the Airman’s name printed twice, one right side up and the other is upside down, this allows a the names to be read even if the goblet is symbolically turned down at the death of one of the team. Currently there are only 8 surviving men from the raid.
The case also contains a bottle of 1896 Hennessy Brandy (the date selected to represent the year of Jimmy Doolittle’s Birth) to be used by the last two remaining Raiders at the last reunion to toast their departed comrades.
These men went through “IT” together….and what a beautiful tribute as they slowly fly off into the sunset.
I know this would have made a great Memorial Day post, but then again….perhaps it isn’t right to only remember our Veterans a few times a year. I think we should be thinking of them every time we see the flag, hug our children….or in the case of Doolittle’s Raiders, when a plane passes overhead. These men are true heroes….and I pray that that bottle of brandy stays unopened for many more years.
Raise a glass tonight and think about how 16 Aircraft changed the world, I know I will.