This post is a revision and updating of one originally done March 7, 2012, on a former blog.
June 28, 2010, I had done a posting on the poor condition of Columbia’s Gervais Street Doolittle Raider memorial consisting of eighty palmetto trees, one for each of the raiders and each bearing a small brass tag engraved with the name of a raider. Several of the tags were missing, and some were loose. And some of the trees were in bad shape.
My suggestion at the time was that with the 70th anniversary of the April 18, 1942, raid rapidly approaching, we needed to get the memorial back in shape by removing the remaining brass tags, getting the trees trimmed and in good shape, and placing a single marker with the names of all eighty raiders at some appropriate place among the trees. There were lots of documentary photos at that original posting.
Ann Holtschlag, Elaine Camp, John McCabe and Ken Walden of Columbia Green, the organization responsible for planting the original eighty trees, grabbed the ball and ran with it. They got Grant Hughes and Martin Izett of Signs Now busy designing the new marker which would be similar in design to the existing marker at the Gervais Street entrance to the SC State Museum. The Museum gave Columbia Green permission to mount the sign. The combination of old and new signs now tells the story of the Raiders who trained in Columbia and the names and home states of the men who made that history. Sara Hollar, City of Columbia Forestry and Beautification Superintendent, assisted with the project as well. And Columbia Green started raising money.
Above is the new design agreed on. It included the names, ranks at the time of the raid, and home states of all eighty Raiders. Only five of them were still living at the time, and all are now deceased. Below is the new sign as it appears March 3, 2023, just across from the Middleton Building at 300 Gervais St.
And below is the original sign posted when the Palmetto trees were planted.
The story of the Doolittle Raid is documented in this Wikipedia article. More information about the heroes is HERE.
April 18th, 2023, will be the 81st anniversary of the historic event.