Communion Of Dreams

Broken seal.
November 11, 2013, 12:41 pm
Filed under: Connections, Government, NPR, Society | Tags: , , , ,

The Raid was a total secret to all involved and the members of the raid were chosen by volunteering for a “dangerous secret mission”.  The members did not know the target destination until the planes were loaded on the ship and the raid was underway.  This was to prevent any “leakage” of information about the raid.  16 B-25 twin engine bombers were to take off from the deck of the Aircraft Carrier USS Hornet and bomb Japan mainland.  This would be the first attack on Japan mainland of WW2.  Because the airplanes were too large to be taken below deck on the aircraft carrier they had to be stored at the end of the runway on top.  As a result the runway was very short, especially for the first plane in line, and special training was required to teach the pilots to be able to take off in such a short distance with a full payload.

From the official Doolittle Tokyo Raiders website.

* * *

Historically, important legal and government documents were “sealed” with some manner of imprint in wax, wet clay (which was then allowed to dry), ink or some similar material. This helped to verify their authenticity.

Later, such sealing was used so as to indicate that a letter or package wasn’t opened prior to the intended recipient having possession, or before an appointed time.

We still use the term “seal” in both ways, routinely. So much so that we seldom even give much thought to it. Court records are sealed. Government documents bear a seal indicating their official nature. Food & drug products are sealed for your protection. Alcohol containers are sealed with a tax stamp.

When a seal is broken, it is a moment of change. Perhaps a noteworthy one. Perhaps something trivial. It can be a violation. Or it can be the culmination of a promise.

* * *

From NPR this morning, about the final reunion of the Doolittle Raiders this past Saturday:

In 1959, officials in Tucson, Ariz., presented the Raiders with a set of 80 name-engraved silver goblets. They’re kept in a velvet-lined box, and after each year’s toast, the goblets of those who have died are turned upside down. Four remain upright.

This time, the Raiders bring out an 1896 vintage bottle of Hennessy cognac. It was given to Jimmy Doolittle on his 60th birthday, and it has been kept unopened by the Raiders.

Cole is asked to break the wax seal, but it’s not an easy task. When the 98-year-old succeeds, the final toast is offered: “Gentleman, I propose a toast to those we lost on the mission and those who have passed away since. Thank you very much, and may they rest in peace.”

More than 71 years of tragedy, bravery and inspiration have lead to this moment. And finally, the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders declare their mission is over.

Thank you, gentlemen.  And thank you to all our Veterans. You have kept your promise to us, one sealed in blood and sacrifice.


Jim Downey


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