Today is Veterans Day, 2013. Not just any Veterans Day, but one that is especially meaningful. Last Saturday, at a ceremony at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, a final toast was made for the Doolittle Raiders. A bottle 1896 of cognac was ceremonially uncorked and a toast was made, delivered by Col. Richard Cole, a man I had the honor of interviewing in November 2012. He is one of only four surviving members of the original 80 member team of Doolittle Raiders. Here is a screen shot from the interview, part of a film Lee Kirgan produced for The Yellow Rose Project, a short film to celebrate the B-25 and to support The Yellow Rose. The 1944 B-25, the Yellow Rose, is hangared in San Marcos, Texas, and is maintained by the Centex Wing of the Commerative Air Force http://tinyurl.com/TheYellowRoseFilmProject.
For the story of the ceremony and a bit of the history of the Doolittle Raiders, click on this link: http://tinyurl.com/opyazj3. Many years ago, 80 goblets were made, on each one was carved a name of a member of the Doolittle Raiders. Every year at a reunion of the surviving Raiders, the goblet with the names of those who died in the previous year is ceremonially turned over, then a toast is made to those who died in the raid, those who have died since the raid, and to those still living. Today, there are only four goblets standing upright, representing the four Raiders still alive. Three were at the ceremony last Saturday evening.
A bottle of 1896 (the year of Col. Doolittle’s birth) cognac that was given to Col. Doolittle was uncorked. Many years ago, the survivors of the Raid vowed not to open the bottle till most were gone. It was decided that this was the year to open it and give a final toast. Here is a video of the ceremony: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDKPYpkU5Cg. Fast forward to 48:53 to watch Col. Cole open the bottle and give the final toast.
On this Veterans Day, let us all remember all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, as well as those who served and continue to serve our great country in order to preserve that freedom.