On Saturday evening, three of the last four survivors of Jimmy Doolittle’s daring raid on Tokyo gathered at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Ohio, to offer one last toast to their fallen comrades. All are in their nineties now; the fourth living raider could not attend due to health concerns. Originally they planned for the farewell toast to be held by the final two survivors, but they thought it best not to take the chance that none of them would be able to lift a glass in salute when Veterans Day 2014 rolls around.
“We didn’t want to get a city all excited and plan and get everything set up for a reunion, and end up with no people because of our age,” as 98-year-old Lt. Colonel Richard Cole explained, with the easygoing directness and humility of the Greatest Generation.