A final toast to the Doolittle Raiders

In 1956, the Hennessy company gave Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle an 1896 bottle of Hennessy Cognac — the year he was born.

Every year since, the surviving members of the flyboys who raided Tokyo in World War II, gather to drink a toast to those who’ve died.

Saturday will be the last toast.

When Maj. Thomas Griffin of Cincinnati died in February at age 96, the survivors decided that this year’s toast would be the last and they’d drink it just before Veteran’s Day.

Only four are still alive and one of them is too ill to make the trip. Only one Minnesotan was in the original group. Wayne Bissell of Walker, a bombadier, died in 1997.

The ceremony begins at 5 p.m. (CT) and you can watch it here or here.

Related: A talk with a Doolittle Raider.

From the archive:
The last men of Luverne.

Update 11/10 Here’s the full ceremony: