The location was in Kendall, a suburban community south of Miami.
It was Thanksgiving 1962, and in the warm glow of our family’s table were 6 members of an Army missile team, invited by my father, They were operating four Nike missile bases each armed with 18 Hercules missiles read to strike Cuba. The dinner was a month after the Cuban missile crisis when President Kennedy was very close to Nuclear War with the Soviets over missiles broight to Cuba. Millions of Americans stocked up with food. My Mom bought enough freeze dried food to last a year. The Cuban missile crisis was toned down, the nuclear missiles remained in their silos, but tensions remained high. The soldiers were exhaustedLet’s face it, they were part of the advance units of an invasion of Cuba. We were all traumatized., living in ground zero of possible nuclear destruction. If I had to explain our feelings in one word, that word would be dread. We were especially thankful for the soldiers presence. We had escaped an atomic war. It was a special day that year. When I drove down U.S. highway one after work, hundreds of military trucks, and armaments, were headed to South Florida. My most missiles secured on the flatbeds
That was 56 years ago. Today we face different challenges, divided philosophies, and yes, dread of a different kind. Again, we have fear, but just as we were in 1962, we are most thankful for our families, and for the men and women of the armed forces who stand guard, just like those we met at the family table on November 22nd, 1962.
This was first reported on Thanksgiving day on KYW Newsradio.