I Was Almost Nuked As A Kid!

Posted: July 23, 2011 in Deep Thoughts, The Challenge

Today as I was thinking about my daily photo, especially in light of the fact that I skipped yesterday, I ran across the Cavanaugh Flight Museum again. I posted a few nighttime images a week or so ago, but went back today and captured a few shots. The included image is the nose cone of a Russian Mig (short for Mikoyan Gurevich) 17 sitting next to a United States Air Force Reserve Republic F-105F Thunderchief. Both of these aircraft saw service during the Vietnam War and were often adversaries over the skies of Vietnam, but that is not the story I want to tell.
As I snapped a few photos of the Mig, I thought about the news article I read yesterday reporting that a Russian agent was linked to the US Embassy bombing overseas. Thinking first about the article taking me back to my youth and seeing the Russian fighter reminded me of just how frightening the Cold War truly was. Most people under the age of 25 today have little to no memory of the Cold War and living daily with the threat of nuclear annihilation but I do. I can remember the 1980s and hearing President Reagan label the U.S.S.R. an evil empire and watch the enormous buildup of thousands of massive nuclear weapons on both sides. I remember hearing the Strategic Air Command Boeing B-52 bombers and KC-135 tankers take off night and day from Carswell Air Force Base wondering if it was just another drill or the real thing. It may seem absurd to sit around wondering when the bombs would fall, but for most of us it was a foregone conclusion that someday they would come, until the wall came down.
I will never forget witnessing the collapse of the Soviet Empire in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was as if the world had finally awakened from a deep and horrible nightmare and we could all breathe a little easier. There were concerns about the safety and security of the massive Soviet nuclear arsenal, but that was miniscule compared to the daily anxiety caused by the ever present threat of Mutually Assured Destruction. Looking back it truly is a wonder that by some twist of fate, moment of passion or just plain act of madness the human race did not decimate itself. To this day, I still wonder if God himself controlled the Cold War years more closely than any other in human history.
Seeing the Red Russian Star on the side of the Mig-17 simply brought back a flood of memories from my youth. I will never forget asking my father if a nuclear war was going to happen and him not being able to assure me the answer was no. Today we live in fear of terrorism, and to be sure there is much to fear, but currently no terrorists possess the ability to remove most of the human race from planet Earth within a few hours, and make our species extinct within months. Let us hope that the sort of misinformation, paranoia, distrust and madness that accompanied the Cold War never surfaces again.


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