Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The World on the Edge of Forever

The world was about to end.  We understood on that at some level, that afternoon in October of 1962 when we walked home from school.  We said goodbye to each other, that afternoon, saying "See you tomorrow - if there is a tomorrow."

We didn't know why we were saying that.

We didn't know what the world ending meant.

We didn't know that our world was teetering on the edge of forever. Thankfully, that knowledge was left to our parents, and the other adults of our world.  You know, those adults who were supposed to keep us children safe.

We didn't know that our President, that handsome President Kennedy, had appeared on TV on Monday, October 22, 1962.  Headlines in newspapers warned that the speech would be of the highest national urgency.

Our young President, in office for less than two years, told the American people that the Soviets had set up nuclear missiles on the island of Cuba, less than 100 miles from the Florida Keys.
For the next week, the world held its collective breath while the two nuclear superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, manuvered, finally realizing they had to back off from the brink. They found a way.

Some historians consider October, 1962, the most dangerous month in the history of the world.

My spouse has memories of walking home from school, to eat lunch (this was common back then), and hearing sirens go off.  He and his friends, in a panic, ran towards their homes as fast as they could.

I don't know if my fellow bloggers, some  of which barely remember the Soviet Union, can imagine what those days in October were like.

50 years ago, the world was a very different place.  We should never forget that, for the Cuban Missile Crisis has lessons to teach us today.

Nostalgia sometimes isn't pleasant. 

Sometimes, you don't want to remember.


4 comments:

  1. Another man who found once himself at the tip of the spear said, "Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Sir Winston Churchill was lead to make a difficult decision two that would ultimately affect the future of the world and, indeed, our lives today. We may not want to remember, but we had best do so. I am saddened, however, by how little young people seem to know about world history these days. Or am I just sounding like my grandfather?

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    1. I think there's a reason why we turn into our parents and grandparents. With experience comes (hopefully) wisdom. Yes, we must remember. Yes, I have a son in his 20's and he doesn't seem to be interested in world history or even our American presidential campaign. Yes, it makes me sad. "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"

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  2. Thanks for the reminder of such an important event in history. We should never forget.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by. I agree completely. I am saddened by how many people, including so many of our young adults, don't.

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