n my laptop screen is an image of four living veterans of the 1942 Doolittle Raid on Tokyo. The old airmen gathered in April
2012 to commemorate the heroism and success of a mission seventy years earlier.
These ninety-plus-year-old guys are my heroes. When they were twenty-somethings they chose to give up their lives for their
brothers and for the future of American history. There ain’t no greater love than that.
Dads, you heard of December 7, 1941, when the Japanese Empire attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, killing 2400 Americans and
wounding another 1300. If you are a World War II geek like me, you remember the April 18, 1942, retaliatory attack on Tokyo
by the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Army Air Force. Seventy-nine young men, led by one old man, Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle, chose to
fulfill President Franklin Roosevelt’s vision of responding to the Pearl Harbor attack. The Doolittle Raid was meant to increase
America’s morale and decrease the Japanese Empire’s confidence.
The Doolittle Raid began as a “suicide mission,”with its combat-untested B-25B bomber launching from an aircraft carrier (the
USS Hornet), with no fighter plane escort, and landing in Japanese-occupied Eastern China. Then it got worse.
About 170 nautical miles before the desired launch point, the USS Hornet was spotted by a Japanese Navy patrol boat, which
sent a warning message to its commanders before the U.S. Navy sank it. The Doolittle Raiders chose to launch their mission
earlier than planned, knowing they would not have safe landings in Eastern China. Why? Because they were committed to
changing American history.
As a home school dad, I ask myself, am I committed to change American history? Have I raised my children in a manner where
they will want to risk their lives to change American history? To see their friends and neighbors trust Christ as Lord and Savior?
Have I made history-changing disciples in my own family? I got my answer. And I didn’t like it.
by Pat Harrell