On April 18, 1942, 80 brave American airmen risked their lives in a bombing mission on Japan. These men became known as the Doolittle Raiders, after their commander, Lt. Gen. James Doolittle. Today, only four Raiders remain.
One of them, Doolittle’s co-pilot Lt. Col. Richard Cole, was in Washington D.C. this weekend, where he served as the grand marshal in today’s Memorial Day parade and accepted the Congressional Gold Medal on behalf of the Doolittle Raiders. Although Americans can never fully repay the debt of gratitude we owe to these heroes, the medal stands as a token of this country’s appreciation for what they have done.
The 80 U.S. airmen who volunteered for the Doolittle Raid are giants among that generation of veterans, even though the popular memory of their exploits is fading as the drama of more recent wars eclipses their significance.
“It’s not a well-known story anymore,” said James C. Roberts, president of the American Veterans Center, which is helping to coordinate a documentary film about the Raiders. “That’s something we’re trying to address.”
Cole’s recollections remain in tight formation, their wings glistening in the sun.
We urge you to read the whole thing.
Actor and proud military supporter Gary Sinise had the opportunity to meet Cole, 98, and share his gratitude in person.
As are all of us. Thank you, Lt. Col. Cole, for your service and bravery. Thank you to all who have served.