POLK CITY, Fla. (April 4, 2011) - On April 15 and 16, visitors to Fantasy of Flight will have the opportunity to hear from a direct descendant of one of history's most famous aviators and war heroes, General Jimmy Doolittle of the renowned "Doolittle Raiders." The presentation is just one installment of the attraction's newly expanded "Legends & Legacies Symposium Series." Doolittle's granddaughter, Jonna Doolittle Hoppes, author of "Calculated Risk: The Extraordinary Life of Jimmy Doolittle," a memoir about her extraordinary grandfather, and "Just Doing My Job," a collection of 19 narratives from WWII, is the headline speaker for the event.
Throughout the weekend, Hoppes will share personal photographs and anecdotes of her "Gramps" wartime experiences as well as his life at home, with a focus on the perspective of her grandmother, Josephine, or "Joe" Doolittle.
One of the only attractions in the country to bring together legendary World War II heroes to share their firsthand accounts, Fantasy of Flight is proud to present this newly expanded symposium series which invites WWII aviation heroes and their families to offer a glimpse of what it was like to fly in the heyday of aviation as they protected their country. The series also includes heroes from WWII who served on the ground protecting and supporting the men and women in flight. Each symposium features several open-forum/question-and-answer sessions, followed by meet-and-greet/autograph signing sessions.
"Fantasy of Flight is thrilled to bring history to life by providing our guests the opportunity to meet, interact with and learn from great American heroes and their families," said Kim Long, General Manager of Fantasy of Flight. "To hear personal anecdotes of aviation and wartime legends we've only read about in history books is truly the opportunity of a lifetime and we hope everyone will take advantage of this incredible weekend presentation."
Hoppes' grandfather, General Jimmy Doolittle, was an aviation pioneer and WWII hero who led the famous Doolittle Raid for which he earned the Medal of Honor from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Doolittle Raid took place April 18, 1942 and was the first air raid by the United States to strike the Japanese homeland, providing a vital moral boost for the U.S. after Pearl Harbor. Hollywood has portrayed Doolittle many times - perhaps most notably by Alec Baldwin in the 2001 blockbuster, Pearl Harbor.