On the Brink of Armageddon

Today in History, October 22, 1962:  President Kennedy announces in a speech from the Oval Office that the Soviet Union has placed nuclear missiles in Cuba, only 90 miles from Florida.  Any city within the United States could be destroyed within moments.

President Kennedy announced the US Navy was conducting a “Quarantine” of Cuba, another name for a Blockade, which “could” be considered an act of war.  He also made clear that any missile launched from Cuba upon any nation in the Western Hemisphere would result in an attack on the Soviet Union.  Could this be interpreted as enforcement of the Monroe Doctrine?

Today we are experiencing stressful times, a showdown with North Korea.  We’ve been here before, even worse.  We are made nervous by the rhetoric voiced by our government.  President Kennedy kept us safe by letting the Soviets and Cuba know the consequences would be dire if they acted in bad faith.  At that time Castro and the Soviet government were viewed as “madmen” much as Kim is today.

PT 109


Today in History, August 2: 1943 – Lt (jg) John Fitzgerald Kennedy and the crew of torpedo boat PT-109 are on patrol in Blackett Strait of the Solomon Islands when they are rammed by a Japanese destroyer, IJN Amagiri. The destroyer continued on her way; the crew of the plywood patrol boat began a days long ordeal of survival at sea. Kennedy, in spite of a bad back, towed a wounded crewman by a strap for two miles to a nearby island. He and another officer took turns swimming out into the strait attempting to flag down help. Eventually they encountered natives who were working with an Australian Coast Watcher, who arranged rescue. There was no doubt JFK’s actions were heroic, but heroes were everywhere during those years. His exploits were used during his presidential campaign to great success. He kept the coconut upon which he had written a message to the coast watcher.