Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Fayette | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Warren | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

Keeping the Faith - At the Brink

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.

.

© Copyright 2014 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 by using one of the social media links below.

In Other News...

'Guns and Hoses' Fight for '911 Gives Hope'

MADISONVILLE, Ky. (4/16/14) — Some of Madisonville's finest participated in 911 Gives Hope - Guns and Hoses 2014 at the… Read More

Multi-Agency Investigation Leads to Drug Arrest

MADISONVILLE, Ky (4/15/14) ― A Madisonville man has been arrested on a warrant for several drug-related charges after a… Read More

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

April 16, 2014 17116

UPDATE- Sheriff's Office Following Leads…

in Top Stories by Taylor Riley, SurfKY News Reporter
April 14, 2014 5572

U.S. Bank Hanson on Lockdown Due to Bomb…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
April 14, 2014 5033

Pedestrian Killed During Two Vehicle…

in Top Stories by Chris E. King
April 13, 2014 4289

One Dead in Two Vehicle Head On Collision

in Top Stories by Chris E. King
April 12, 2014 2717

One Injured in Two Vehicle Accident in…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

April 14, 2014 5033

Pedestrian Killed During Two Vehicle…

in Top Stories by Chris E. King
April 13, 2014 4289

One Dead in Two Vehicle Head On Collision

in Top Stories by Chris E. King
April 12, 2014 2717

One Injured in Two Vehicle Accident in…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
April 15, 2014 2695

Police Searching for Sureway's 'Baby…

in Top Stories by Taylor Riley, SurfKY News Reporter
April 15, 2014 2141

Multi-Agency Investigation Leads to Drug…

in Top Stories by Lori Blakeley

Most Read Stories from Owensboro

April 14, 2014 1524

Grow Garden Grow - Spring Has Sprung

in News by Barbara Cecil Russ
April 13, 2014 880

Two Daviess County Men Busted for…

in Top Stories by Scott Gibbs
April 15, 2014 831

Owensboro Police Investigate Auto Accident

in News by Michael Hathaway
April 15, 2014 658

Owensboro Parks Offers Tennis Lessons

in News by Britni Bunn
April 14, 2014 551

Owensboro Health Hosts Tours for…

in Top Stories by Dennis Beard, SurfKY News

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

April 13, 2014 2491

Muhlenberg 4-H is Buzzing

in Top Stories by Janie Culton
April 14, 2014 1891

MCC Staff Shares Good News with…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News Reporter
April 15, 2014 1102

'Walk Right Back' An Everly Brother's…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News Reporter
April 15, 2014 1077

Local MCHS Students Train at Job Corps

in Top Stories by Karen Robinson
April 15, 2014 886

Thumbpickers Unite at Mose Rager Day

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News Reporter

SurfKY News Group, Inc. Central Office & Printing Division
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431  •  270.452.2249 (fax)
Main Number: 270.452.2727 (phone)  •  Printing Division Direct Line: 270.821.8600 (phone)

SurfKY Owensboro News Bureau
920 Frederica St. / Suite 210  •  Owensboro, KY 42301  •  270.683-8060 (phone)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social 06social 21social 22social 04social 03