Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, fewer than 500,000 are still alive. Every day 350 WWII veterans pass away. The greatest generation is vanishing.
In fact, the last of the Doolittle Raiders, Dick Cole, just passed away recently at age 103.
Four months after Pearl Harbor, Cole, along with 79 other brave air crew, launched twin-engine B-25 bombers from the carrier Hornet—an unbelievable aviation achievement. Their mission was to bomb Tokyo and then fly on to airfields in unoccupied China.
Although they succeeded in bombing the Japanese capital, none of the 16 aircraft reached their intended destination. Three men were lost, eight captured, three executed by the Japanese.
But the mission was a huge success for American morale, and a grim warning for the Japanese Empire.
As this generation of Americans vanishes so does something else our culture needs: a historical memory of great evils and an understanding of the courage required to face those evils. Educating future generations is our crucial task.
[Editor’s Note: Cole is second from right in the photo.]
Image: Google Images