Anyway, reading that post reminds me that I'm thankful I wasn't born a few years earlier, otherwise, I'd have spent most of my childhood a a gibbering idiot, in constant fear of nuclear annihilation. Lucky for me, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, I was just approaching my third birthday and spent my days concentrating on life's important lessons like whether dirt or pine cones tasted better. (Dirt is kinda gritty, but pine cones leave a sticky residue.) And things had calmed considerably by the time I started thinking deep thoughts about anything other than cap guns or whether Bewitched or Gomer Pyle was on TV that night.
My parents, obviously, were aware of the danger presented by the Cuban Missile Crisis, and presumably, throughout the remainder of the Cold War. I congratulate them on not having become gibbering idiots, in constant fear of nuclear annihilation. Or putting up a really good front, anyway. However, the fact that they weren't completely incapacitated by fear doesn't mean they didn't think about that stuff or take reasonable steps. It's not like they built a bomb shelter in the backyard, but I have a distinct memory of one or more shelves in the bathroom closet being stuffed with bottled water and flashlights and batteries and things like that. I suppose those were also handy things to have around in the event of a not-unheard-of Hurricane coming along and rearranging the geography. (I'm starting to think I grew up in a really dangerous fucking place!)
By now, some of you (regulars who can't be blamed for forgetting and new visitors who have no reason to know in the first place), will be asking yourselves, "Where the hell did Nathan grow up?" Well, pretty much at Ground Zero of what would have been on the Soviets' list of worthwhile First Strike Targets -- Jacksonville, Florida. More on that later.
In addition to having bottled water stored, (latent steam, really), I'm pretty sure that every kid I grew up with wore a set of dog tags. I still have mine!
Anyway, back to why Jacksonville would have been such an attractive first strike target. First there's proximity - just a bit over 500 miles as the ICBM flies!
Like I said, I'm glad I grew up completely oblivious.
BTW, while researching this post (I did too do research!), I ran across this wonderful tidbit about one of NAS Mayport's more auspicious moments in U.S. History.
Shortly before noon on June 8, 1959, the first official dispatch of U.S. Mail was launched from the guided-missile submarine USS Barbero (SSG 317), from international waters off of the Atlantic Coast. Twenty-two minutes later, the Regulus I Missile, carrying 3,000 pieces of mail (postcards), landed at the U.S. Naval Auxiliary Air Station, Mayport. Among the officials present for the event was Postmaster General Arthur Summerfeld, who stated, "This peacetime employment of a guided missile for the important and practical purpose of carrying mail, is the first known official use of missiles by any Post Office Department of any nation." He proclaimed the event to be "of historic significance to the peoples of the entire world," and predicted that "before man reaches the moon, mail will be delivered within hours from New York to California, to Britain, to India or Australia by guided missiles. We stand on the threshold of rocket mail!"To my knowledge, this remains the first and last use of missile mail by anyone.