The first thing to say is that war is a horrible event. The destruction of human lives, human potential, and property is always enormous and very sad. Those of us who never had to face the prospect of being directly involved in war will never truly understand the horror of it.
As an American, all I can do is simply offer gratitude for the millions of fellow citizens who made the ultimate sacrifice trying to do what they could to serve their country. This concert this year featured a number of outstanding performances including the modern version of the Beach Boys. If you are my age you simply cannot listen to them without recalling the decade of the 1960's and all the turmoil related to the war in Viet Nam that badly divided the United States at that time.
But the most vivid memories that came back watching this concert were the stories my Dad would tell me about his friend Robert Lowell Hite and the stories my uncle would tell me about his service overseas in WWII (my uncle received a purple heart for being wounded in Germany near the end of war).
Dad has passed on now, but I still recall him telling me about his best friend (Robert Lowell Hite) that he grew up with back on the farm in West Texas in the 1930's. Below is some information on Lt. Col. Hite who was a part of the famous Doolittle raid from an article that ran in the Wasington Post when he passed away in 2015.
"Robert L. Hite, an Army Air Forces aviator who was captured by the Japanese and imprisoned for 40 months after flying in the Doolittle raid of 1942, the nowcelebrated mission that invigorated American morale early in World War II, died March 29 at a nursing facility in Nashville. He was 95."
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"Mr. Hite was a co-pilot on the B-25 dubbed “Bat Out of Hell,” the last bomber to take off from the carrier. After completing their missions, the bombers were scheduled to land in a safe section of China — a plan that was upended when they encountered foul weather and darkness.
All 16 planes were lost in the course of the mission. Mr. Hite and other aviators were forced to bail out over enemy-occupied China. Eight men, including Mr. Hite, were captured by the Japanese. Three were executed; the other five received life sentences after what was described as a sham court-martial. For more than three years in POW camps in China, they endured interrogation, beatings, disease and starvation."