Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | 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.

Posted on 2/2/14
2/6/2014 - posted
2/6/2014 - posted
2/6/2014 - posted

In Other News...

Man Charged with Criminal Abuse of 2-Year-Old Girl

MADISONVILLE, Ky. (10/30/14) — A 19-year-old Madisonville man has been charged with first-degree criminal abuse after… Read More

Pennyrile Gymnastic Team to Perform on 'America's Got Talent'

WESTERN KENTUCKY (10/29/14) — The Pennyrile All-star Panthers Gymnastic Team is on its way to 'America's Got Talent.'… Read More
2/6/2014 - posted

Most Read This Week

October 29, 2014 8757

UPDATE: Medical Examiner's Official Report…

in Local (Lakes) Top News by Dennis Thomas
October 24, 2014 7508

Central City Man Charged with Sexual Assault on…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Chris Cooper
October 27, 2014 6031

Earlington Woman Charged With Burglary for…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 23, 2014 4447

Don Everly to be Part of Rock and Roll Hall of…

in Top News For All Sites by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
October 27, 2014 4311

Baptist Health Madisonville Performs Baptist…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Kristy Quinn
October 28, 2014 3942

UPDATE: 'Runner' Ran Home; Family Happy

in Hopkins News by Lisa Crook
October 29, 2014 3835

UPDATE: Two More Arrested for Meth at Area Motel

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
October 24, 2014 3820

Miners Turn Out in Madisonville for…

in Top News For All Sites by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
October 28, 2014 3297

UPDATE: Extended to Wednesday; Heaven's Gates and…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
October 27, 2014 3292

Woman Charged for Domestic Assault with Scissors,…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department

Stories Trending Today

October 29, 2014 8757

UPDATE: Medical Examiner's Official Report…

in Local (Lakes) Top News by Dennis Thomas
October 29, 2014 3835

UPDATE: Two More Arrested for Meth at Area Motel

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
October 29, 2014 2475

Hypodermic Needle Sticking Out of Jacket During…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 29, 2014 2177

Pennyrile Gymnastic Team to Perform on 'America's…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
October 29, 2014 1902

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Oct. 29, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
October 29, 2014 1819

Huge Crowds Visit Uncle Lee’s First Day of…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
October 30, 2014 1589

UPDATE: Missing Elderly Couple Found

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Chief William C. Crider
October 29, 2014 1545

Trespassing Complaint Ends with Shoplifting Arrest

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
October 29, 2014 1393

Central City Businessman Indicted by Grand Jury…

in Top News For All Sites by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
October 29, 2014 1298

Water Main Break Sends Stream Dozens of Feet in…

in Hopkins News by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director

SurfKY News Group, Inc.
Corporate Office & Studio
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431
270.452.2727 (phone)
  •  270.452.2249 (fax)


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

social fbsocial twsocial yt
social gpsocial flrsocial rss