With all this mess we have been going through with Russia again, I have been thinking that, as baby boomers, we have lived under fear of some type of war with Russia all of our lives.
When we were young and in the first and second grade, there would be some kind of special alarm, and all of us would crouch under our desks with our little butts hanging out until the alarm rang again.
This was done to make us safe in case the big bomb was dropped. The authorities must have thought only the top parts of our bodies needed protecting.
I have often thought back on those days that were so simple and wondered why we had to do that. I lived in Annapolis, Md., which was only about 30 miles from D.C., so if the bomb had been dropped, we wouldn’t have been able to kiss our own butts goodbye, hiding under those desks. That seems now to be kind of cruel.
I have spent all my life close to centers of commerce that would have been destroyed, I suppose. I was born and raised around D.C., published papers around Norfolk, Va., in San Diego, and now near Atlanta.
One time in my career, I was transferred from Radford, Va., to Sterling, Colo.
As we were driving across Kansas, which seemed to take weeks, I said to my wife, Molly, "You know, the one good thing about going to this new assignment is that we will be so far from anything that is important that we won’t have to worry about any bombs destroying us".
Molly, who always has been much wiser than I, said, "Have you seen the little fenced-in areas that have been out in the middle of nowhere as we traveled down this interstate?"
I told her yes. In fact, I thought it was kind of stupid for the farmers to do this. But, she said, "No, dummy, they aren’t stupid at all."
"Those fences are your government at work. Those plots contain nuclear warheads."
Molly always has been very direct.
When we arrived in Sterling, Colo., the first tour I went on showed the ring of nuclear missiles that surrounded the little town. I was shocked.
So much for my desire to be away from the nuclear threat.
I haven’t worried about this threat in the past few years, until last week. I don’t know how far this Russian leader will actually go; however, I do remember that we were not prepared to stop his predecessors in 1956 when Hungary tried to escape the Russian grasp, or in ’68, when Czechoslovakia tried to break loose. If we had helped those people who wanted our help instead of the people of Vietnam or Iraq or Afghanistan, who didn’t want us, who knows?
We might live in a different world today.
We have certainly lived through a magic time in our lifetime, with much positive change brought about by our generation. But it seems that we are not destined to ever live in a time that the Russian Bear has not dominated our lives.
When we were little, there was genuine fear of actually dying from the effects of an atomic bomb; after one of the school alarms one time, most of us began to cry.
I remember Sister Mary as she gathered us together, telling us not to be fearful and for us to gather and pray to our heavenly father and ask for his protection and peace.
After all these years, I believe Sister Mary’s advice is still sound.
God bless us all.
T. Pat Cavanaugh is the publisher of The News. He can be contacted at 770-787-6397 or firstname.lastname@example.org.