Today, in honor of our country's birthday, we'll look back, on the story of some extraordinary gentlemen, who in their own words, "We volunteered to do a job and carried through." The subject is the Tokyo Doolittle Raiders, who were the first Americans to strike a blow against the Japanese homeland during World War II.
This close knit group has had annual reunions for over 70 years hosted by many groups and cities across the United States. In 2012 the museum hosted the celebration, complete with a fly over. One of the planes that has participated in several reunions is Georgie's Gal, operated by the Liberty Aviation Museum. Here Jim, one of the pilots, talks about how they honored the Raiders, and all the other aircrew who flew B-25s in WW II:
The diorama is exquisite, including the correct model plane, the goblets, and now something new.
The famous Doolittle Tokyo Raiders goblets, a gift from the city of Tuscon, AZ
Brian Anderson, Sargent at Arms for the Raiders, presents the Congressional Gold Medal
Lt Col Richard "Dick" Cole
Staff Sgt David Thatcher
Brian Anderson, Sargent at Arms for the Raiders had the idea, so let's let him tell the story
The remaining members of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders, Lt Col Dick Cole and Staff Sgt David Thatcher, wanted the Congressional Gold Medal to be displayed here at the museum, instead of the Smithsonian, so this is one of the few available to see outside of the Beltway. Here is their first view of the medal, courtesy of the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
A gala ceremony was held, welcoming the medal to its new home, and below is a video of what you will see when you visit the museum, along with some other pictures. It's is a nice story, with some words of wisdom from the surviving raiders at this link to the National Museum of the United States Air Force website. It includes the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders Commemorative Ceremony. Especially moving was when the gathering rose as one to honor the raiders with send off singing the Air Force song.
So while today we honor the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders, let us all pause and remember that keeping the Declaration of Independence alive requires great sacrifice from all branches of the service, and many other first responders as well. Please keep them in your thoughts, for without their and their families sacrifices, we might not be enjoying parades, ice cream, and fireworks this weekend.