Remembering the Missile Crisis and the Recognition of Civil Rights
Robert E. Russell, Jr.
Robert E. Russell, Jr. has been associated with conservative organizations, such as Heritage Foundation, Hillsdale College, Heartland Institute, the Philadelphia Society, etc. for decades. He is the President of Robert Russell & Associates.
Where does Castro’s demise fit into our history, and how important was his influence?
While Fidel Castro’s passing is not at the news level of the Romney-Trump reconciliation, it nonetheless, as Trump himself iterated, influences much more than simply the American – Cuban relationship, or lack thereof.
In a few months, we will mark the 55th year after the Bay of Pigs. If you’re not familiar with all that was represented in that defensive/offensive move on America’s part, find the truth about it. It was the finale of something called the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Soviet Union had placed an arsenal of atomic warheads, all on stationery rockets, aimed at the United States. Being only 90 miles from our shores, this was hardly a calm moment for all those who lived within the “3,000 mile radius,” which meant that they lived within the distinct possibility of being blown to shreds by one or more of those weapons.
The reason this happened can be boiled down to the fact that when Castro took over a few years prior, he began jailing, killing, and otherwise reducing citizens to little or nothing if they countered any of his complete Communistic moves. He was successful. He was a total dictator, patterning himself after Nikita Khrushchev, Premier of the Soviet Union. So, when it looked like the U.S. was going to do something about this, Khrushchev became his adopted Siamese Twin, and together they assembled armament around the island, just in case we were going to pull some tricks on them.
Note this: There never had been a totally subjected population to Communism in the Western Hemisphere prior to this.
And note this: By 1961, thousands of Cubans had fled from Cuba to the U.S. in vessels as small as the lids of garbage cans, because hundreds of thousands had been slaughtered by Castro’s sycophant agents in ways worse than we’ve seen with ISIS in our time and age.
And note this: If you lived in the 3,000 mile radius, you were alerted by billboards, TV, radio, and loudspeakers everywhere to load the trunk of your car with enough fresh water and food to last you and your family for a week; blankets for sleeping outside; maps for escaping by whatever routes you would be alerted to escape. You were alerted to keep your radio and TV on constantly for further notice. All police, firemen, and other public defenders were put on permanent 24-hour duty. If you happened to be in these areas of the U.S. (check for yourself to see how much of the country was threatened), you were anything but calm.
Because these things were taking place, President John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, had to make the final decision: We either go for the jugular or risk losing millions of Americans, destroying significant resources of our country, and making it possible for the Soviets and Cubans together to occupy some (or more?) of our country.
No threat like this, since the Revolution, had ever taken place. And even in the Revolution, we would have not lost in an instant. Atomic warfare is instantaneous! Everything fine in one minute. Everything and everyone gone in the next minute.
I was there!
I am a proud Veteran of the United States Military Forces, U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC), to be exact. Check it out. I think you will understand the significance of this message when you do. (Understanding of course that since 1961, our public education curricula have excluded most of the threatening essence of events like this one that have taken place in all history, which this man thinks is the primary reason people don’t give much importance to what has happened in Cuba this week. Many of our fellow citizens think that remembering such threats is hooey in this day and age. “Black Lives Matter” has become more important.)
Well, again, checking out my Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), you might learn that the CIC assignments given us in those days (early ’60s) involved America’s heavy concern with integration and the elimination of segregation, regardless of why either one had not taken place. The “hate idea” appeared in isolated incidents. But by and large, throughout the South, particularly, the intent was far more focused on each and every one being equal, period. We achieved that for a few years, more in the South than in the North. Yes, those two divisions are still with us: The South has paid more attention to the true goals of what we were trying to do then than the North.
Imagine living and being stationed in the mid-South, and all these things happening at exactly the same time in history.
A daring young Negro man named James Meredith somehow was positioned to be the first non-Caucasian student seeking entrance to the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). The University granted him admission. When he arrived on campus all hell broke loose. Thousands of roustabouts from all over the U.S. appeared to help locals fight his entrance. Over 40 people lost their lives in this chaos. (Most of the shooters were from everywhere but the state of Mississippi, most from northern states. Check the press from those days. You’ll find the truth.)
Regardless, the U.S. Defense Department ordered 20,000 troops onto active duty at Ole Miss immediately. We stood on the streets of Memphis, Tennessee, the closest large population location, in the middle of the night watching troops that had been flown in to the nearby Naval Air Station being trucked through the city and down the road to Oxford, Mississippi, to control the mob fights that were taking place.
If you lived in the 3,000-mile radius, this was a devastating set-back: two threats at one time. Each occasion, both the missile crisis and the mob violence, created an enormous mountain to climb for an assigned U.S. Military specialist.
In this man’s view, many incredible battles were fought, won, with “permanent results” (only for the moment) very long ago. This occurred less than one month after the Bay of Pigs.
This old geezer stood on the sidewalks of Memphis at midnight, watching my fellow Memphians with tears streaming down their faces, hating the idea that such a thing had happened.
A month prior, I’d watched most Memphians with tears streaming down their faces loading up the trunks of their cars as instructed.
And today we worry about . . . . Color. . . . Private lives . . . while excusing elected officials for throwing their obligatory modus operandi in the wastebasket . . . excusing public schools for altering history to avoid what is written here . . . and never mention that religious faith is important . . . or, in many — too many — cases, that human life is not important.
From a person who is simply an average American, someone who has lived here in America for nearly eight decades, someone who is mystified why we humans cannot take the time, consult the honest scholars, and think about what we learn, in order to see our society properly. This would include a good bit of Bible study, of course — the Founders acknowledged it, as they should have.
If you read between the lines this has nothing to do with the persona, per se. It has everything to do with “making America great again,” an honest and worthy objective for every one of us.
If you’ve read this far, I thank you. It’s been jumping around in my head and heart for a very long time. *