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The Final Toast

Robert L. Hinshaw Avatar Robert L. Hinshaw - LIFETIME Premium Member Robert L. Hinshaw - Premium MemberPremium Member Send Soup Mail  Block poet from commenting on your poetry

Below is the poem entitled The Final Toast which was written by poet Robert L. Hinshaw. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.

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The Final Toast

At dawn on April 8, 1942, 16 B-25's flew from the USS Hornet's deck.
Eighty brave men led by Lt Colonel Doolittle began their historic trek.
A boost in national morale was sorely needed for the war-weary nation,
And these young men, volunteers all, knew Tokyo was their destination!

Damage was slight, but for other valiant deeds, they surely paved the way.
Heroes were made that day, some died, but most lived to fly another day.
They were lauded by the nation and each awarded a well-deserved decoration!
He felt he'd failed, but Doolittle was given the Medal of Honor in appreciation!

After the war, the survivors met periodically and established a great tradition.
Eighty silver goblets were made, one for each man for his proper recognition.
At their reunions, toasts were made to those who had made that final flight.
Their goblets were then turned upside down to commemorate each noble knight!

Alas, as of November 2013, only four survivors remain from that courageous crew:

                                       Lt Colonel Richard E. Cole
                                       Lt Colonel Robert L. Hite
                                       Lt Colonel Edward J. Saylor
                                       SSGT David J. Thatcher

Old men now, they felt they should make that final toast since they are now so few.
They'll raise their goblets on November 9, 2013, a tradition with a pensive ending.
Who, I sadly muse, among those four gallant heroes, will be the last man standing?

Robert L. Hinshaw, CMSgt, USAF, Retired
(c) All Rights Reserved

I was honored during my Air Force career to have at one time as my commander, Colonel 
Herbert Macia, a Doolittle Raider and navigator on plane No. 40-2297.

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  1. Date: 11/3/2013 10:09:00 PM
    it's an Honor to read your poem Bob H.... well the flow...LINDA

  1. Date: 11/2/2013 9:59:00 AM
    Bob - What a tribute. Brings to mind the WWII Memorial Shut Down and the very brave vets who showed the faces of those who fought for us. Even some of us younger folk (68) remember the story of Doolittle as well as others passed on. I hope these WWII stories are kept alive. I will remember these final four on the 9th. love, Kathy

  1. Date: 11/1/2013 6:16:00 PM
    wow, this is a really neat story. Only four left out of the whole group!! amazing.

  1. Date: 11/1/2013 11:30:00 AM
    Bob, I commend you for the remembrances of these brave warriors.... and I thank you for your service to the greatest nation the world has ever known. I served 4 years in the Air Force as a Korean War veteran. I served with the NSA as a Russian linguist.... It was very interesting, but I couldn't make it a career. I sometimes wish I had but learned it is better not to look back. Respectfully.... Jake

  1. Date: 10/30/2013 11:12:00 AM
    You always have a creative and fun way to tell a story. I am so glad you've shared this bit of history for us all. Much respect, Laura --and it is so wonderful to read more of your poetry!

  1. Date: 10/30/2013 5:10:00 AM
    Lovely brave emotions expressed on the four survivals and happy to learn about your honour, Bob

  1. Date: 10/29/2013 8:08:00 PM
    This wonderful poem of honor brought tears to my eyes Robert. I salute you and them. Aloha!

  1. Date: 10/29/2013 6:48:00 PM
    what a wonderful tribute to these brave souls! i hope the survivors got to read these words - i think they'd be impressed and very touched. bravo to you, CMSgt. Hinshaw!