ronniemcbrayer300 blackKENTUCKY (9/29/13) - You may not be aware of this, but our planet and its people should be bursting with relieved celebration, because 30 years ago this week, life as we have known it, came perilously close to the end.

It was September 1983, and the Cold War was anything but cold. President Ronald Reagan was in the White House calling the Soviet Union an “evil empire;” the United States invaded the island of Granada; and the military introduced a ballistic missile defense system that would become known as “Star Wars.”

Meanwhile, Great Britain and France were implementing their own aggressive nuclear weapons program that year, and the Soviet Union conducted more than a half-dozen underground nuclear test explosions.

It was also on September 1, 1983, that the USSR shot down Korea Air Flight 007 when it strayed near Soviet airspace, killing all 269 civilians on board including Georgia Congressman Larry McDonald. It was as close to war as the US and the USSR had come since the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was tense, but that’s not the half of it.

Three weeks after the Flight 007 incident, with passions running high on both sides, and with thousands of nuclear warheads aimed at each other, one of the greatest heroes of our time quietly went to work at a Soviet military base just outside of Moscow. His name was Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov, and until a few years ago, no one knew of his heroics.

At the time the Soviets had a highly sophisticated early warning system against US ballistic missile attacks. It was Petrov’s duty to monitor this alert system in the event of a preemptive nuclear attack. The responding protocol was to launch an immediate all-out counterattack.

On September 26, 1983, the unthinkable happened. Suddenly, at Colonel Petrov’s station, the computer alarms sounded, warning that an American missile was heading toward the Soviet Union. Petrov waited. He reasoned that it had to be a computer error since the United States was not likely to launch just one missile if it were attacking the Soviet Union.

But then, a second missile was detected; then a third; a fourth, and a fifth. The sky seemed to be filled with American warheads! Still, Petrov had a “funny feeling in his gut,” that the alert system was malfunctioning. Further, it was unthinkable, for him, that he would be the final reason for a war that would end human civilization.

So, Petrov sat on the alert message, overrode the security system, and prevented the USSR from retaliating. The seconds passed, then minutes, and finally an hour: There were no missiles. His gut feeling had been right all along. The warning system had failed with near cataclysmic consequences for the human race.

Singlehandedly, Petrov had prevented a worldwide nuclear war, simply by not becoming a participant in it. And for averting this cosmic disaster Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov was relieved of his duty, and the entire episode was locked away in the cellar of Soviet secrets for nearly two decades.

The Pauline admonition is fitting upon the anniversary of Petrov’s heroics. Paul wrote, “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” Literally translated, “Whatever comes out of you, let it lead to peace.” It is redemptive counsel to us to do all we can to protect harmony; clearly, don’t be the one responsible for creating conflict – exceed all limits – to neutralize it.

Now, not every personal or individual skirmish has the potential to balloon into a global apocalypse. But worldwide wars are not that much different than private ones in the end. The same tit for tat is in play. The same wounded pride demands to be assuaged. And likewise, at some point in the conflict there is an opportunity for someone to step away from the brink.

There is opportunity for someone to refuse to perpetuate the ruthless cycle of attack and counterattack; for someone to reject the established protocol of retaliation; for someone to practice peace. Let that someone be you. You might just save the world.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.


Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.

.

LIKE SurfKY on Facebook - Click here to LIKE us now.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story on social media.

In Other News...

Lady Mustangs shut out Owensboro, 13-0

GREENVILLE, Ky. (5/6/15) - The Muhlenberg County Lady Mustangs rolled to a win at home on Tuesday, defeating the… Read More

School Board Studies Further Spending Cuts

POWDERLY, Ky. (5/5/15) — The Muhlenberg County School Board held a special meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 28. The… Read More
1 DOW 17,780.83
-147.37 (-0.82%)    
2 S&P 2,075.89
-13.57 (-0.65%)    
3 NASDAQ 4,907.29
-32.04 (-0.65%)    

Most Read This Week

April 28, 2015 4307

Search for Stolen Vehicle Ends with Woman Charged…

by SurfKY News
April 28, 2015 3463

Man Charged with Stalking Smoke Shop Clerk

by MPD
May 05, 2015 3273

Meth Charge Follows MPD Investigation into…

by SurfKY News
May 05, 2015 3170

School Board Studies Further Spending Cuts

by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
April 30, 2015 2946

Family Says 'Goodbye' to Dog After It Allegedly…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

April 17, 2015 15841

An Open Letter from an Addict

by Olivia Kirks
April 23, 2015 8582

Man Charged with Sodomy, Incest/Victim under 12

by SurfKY News

Stories Trending Now

May 05, 2015 3273

Meth Charge Follows MPD Investigation into…

by SurfKY News
May 05, 2015 3170

School Board Studies Further Spending Cuts

by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
May 06, 2015 1342

Gant Chosen as Pupil Personnel Director

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
May 05, 2015 1131

Madisonville Man Goes to Hospital after…

by SurfKY News
May 05, 2015 952

Two on Moped Injured in Collision with Car

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
May 05, 2015 896

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - May 5, 2015

by SurfKY News
May 05, 2015 826

Baptist Health Madisonville Establishes Foundation

by Kristy J. Quinn
May 05, 2015 529

SurfKY Spotlight: First Kentucky Bank

by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
May 05, 2015 461

May 2015 In-House Rabies Clinics' Schedule

by Barry L. Franklin
May 05, 2015 425

Kentucky Lottery Results for Monday May 4, 2015

by Kentucky Lottery