Summer 2017

Patriotism. What does this word mean to you? Does it remind you of “America, mom, and apple pie?” Or does it represent duty, honor, and country aligned with sacrifice? Or, perhaps, little resonates in your heart and mind.That is not to say that those who strug- gle in this regard do not think the United States worthy of thought, but patriotism does not seem to center on any focus of conversa- tion. Unless, of course, in national crisis, such as “9-11” or Pearl Harbor. Think of this. Had that been the attitude of our Founding Fathers of the eighteenth cen- tury, where would our country be today? But, then again, we were facing a crisis. Would we be speaking with a British accent today, serving the king as a subject of one of his col- onies? Or, more recently, if you can call April 18, 1942 recent, those eighty brave men who volunteered for a mission that had no revealed destination with little possibility of returning – would we be speaking another foreign lan- guage without their heroics? I am referring to the men led by Lt. Col. James Doolittle. These young airmen would become known as the “Doolittle Raiders.” As a means to counter Japan’s surprise at- tack on the United States naval fleet in Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt commissioned military leaders to devise a plan to countermand Japan’s attack of Decem- ber 7, 1941, that tragic “day that will live in infamy.” President Roosevelt wanted to bomb the Japanese mainland to send a message that America will not be taken lightly and that our nation will fight until the war is won. After much deliberation, Doolittle assem- bled over eighty men who were familiar with Thoughts on Patriotism by SKI SCHANHER 28 | Summer 2017 ON A MISSION