A hero to remember

Updated 5/21/2020 9:01 AM

May is "Military Appreciation Month." However, one of the most courageous actions of WW-II occurred in April 1942. It was the "Doolittle Raid" over Japan. Sixteen B-25 bombers were assigned to bomb Japan in retaliation for the Pearl Harbor attack. Plane No. 16 was piloted by 25-year-old Lt. William Farrow, whose crew ultimately had to bail out near Japanese-held Nanchang, China. Farrow and two of his crew were captured and ordered executed. The evening before, they were allowed one last letter home. Farrow's letter to his mother was the embodiment of courage, wisdom and patriotism.

A portion of it read as follows: "Don't let this get you down. God will make everything right and I will see you again ... so let me implore you to keep your chin up. My faith in God is complete, so I am unafraid."


The Japanese never gave the letters to the Red Cross for mailing. The ashes and letters of the three men were found in a secret file in Tokyo in 1945.

In a trunk in South Carolina, Lt. Farrow left behind his handwritten "rules for life," which included 10 points entitled, "What I must do to improve myself." They included, "Fear not the future -- build on each day as though the future for me is a certainty. If I die tomorrow that is too bad, but I will have done today's work!" This was reprinted in every major newspaper and became known as an "American Creed For Victory."

Raiders' yearly reunions featured 80 silver goblets, each inscribed with a Raider's name. Individual goblets were turned upside down in honor of Raiders who had died in the previous year. The last goblet was turned over on April 9, 2019, with the death of 103-year-old Lt. Col. Richard "Dick" Cole. His passing closed yet another glorious chapter of "The Greatest Generation," for which America will be eternally grateful.

Steve Thompson

South Elgin

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