Video production from the 1980s comes full circle.
On Veteran’s Day 2013 in the US, what more fitting way to use video production than to honor some of the great heroes from an earlier generation? We’ve always had a great passion and appreciation for our vets, so back in 1989 when our video production company was young, we took it upon ourselves to send a crew to Tacoma, WA, site of that year’s annual Doolittle’s Raiders reunion.
If you haven’t heard of Doolittle’s Raiders, you’re missing a great story.
This is the saga of 80 men who volunteered for a dangerous mission in the early (and dark) days of 1942. Their mission was to take off from an aircraft carrier and bomb the supposedly invincible Japanese homeland, just 4 & 1/2 months after Pearl Harbor. The mission, although it did little damage, brought a great shot in the arm to the American public at a crucial time.
Many books and movies have been written about the raid, and there have been some video productions in the form of documentaries. One of the big blockbuster movies was the 2001 film “Pearl Harbor.” There are many historical inaccuracies in the movie, especially about the Doolittle Raid. It’s absurd to think that fighter pilots would be converted to bomber pilots for this (or any) mission and they certainly did not return home to Pearl Harbor after bombing Tokyo. But, Hollywood needed to put Ben Affleck over Tokyo to sell tickets, right?
We suggest that you take the time to read more about the Doolittle Raiders. There is much to learn about these true American heroes, their impact, their reunions, and their later lives.
In fact, several of the Raiders did die in the raid and a few captured. There were others that died in action elsewhere later in the war.
While we were at the 1989 reunion, our video production crew was able to capture a number of terrific interviews with these amazing men.
One was with a wonderful, humble man who was captured, imprisoned and tortured by the Japanese, and amazingly returned to Japan after the war as a missionary. More information is available about Mr. DeShazer and his remarkable life here.
We recorded this inspirational interview with Jacob DeShazer:
Part of the tradition of the Doolittle Raider reunions is that they do a roll call of all the Raiders, living and dead. It’s a private ceremony, but I have seen video of it.
They have been holding a bottle of 1896 cognac for the final toast when only two Raiders are left. This year, only four Raiders are still alive, they are well into their nineties, and they have decided that enough is enough. They held their final reunion a few days ago (only three were well enough to make the trip), opened the cognac, and drank a toast to their departed brethren.
The final toast was turned into a public event at the US Air Force Museum. This hour-long video shows that final toast. The first 3/4 of the program was dedicated to presenting the history of the raid, and the men who were on it. If you are so inclined, the entire video is very inspiring, but to see just the toast, scroll the video toward the end.
Here’s to these particular brave and inspiring men and to all our veterans. Thank you for your service!
We’re delighted to have been able to use our video production skills just a tiny bit to share the story of Jacob DeShazer.