Monday, March 30, 2015

Then There WereTwo

"America's Veterans have served their country with the belief that democracy and freedom are ideals to be upheld around the world." James Doolittle.

Noting the passing of Doolittle Raider Lt. Col. Robert Hite at 95.

At a time America needed to know their fighting men and women were up to the task of defending freedom in the Pacific and around the world, the Raiders took off for Tokyo from the deck of an aircraft carrier. They had been detected and were leaving many miles earlier than planned. They suspected it was a trip that would end with their deaths.

Lt. Col. Hite survived, spending nearly four years in a prison camp. He was one of the lucky few POWs who made it home again.

From the Doolittle Raiders website:

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. 
The silver goblets are housed in a special glass-enclosed trophy case which is guarded by two Airmen. In addition to the goblets, the case contains a bottle of brandy to be used by the last two remaining Raiders at the last reunion to toast their departed comrades. Many of the goblets are already turned upside down for the men who were killed in the raid or who have since died.
At each reunion, the Raiders hold a brief ceremony to honor those who have passed away. This emotional remembrance often marks the passing of additional Raiders during the year since the last reunion.
Each goblet is inscribed twice with a Raider name - both right-side up & upside-down - so that the names are always readable.

Several years ago the remaining four Raid veterans opened the bottle and offered a toast. Now, one more goblet has been turned over. There are only two left.

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