October 25, 2012

The Lord is a saving defense to His anointed.  Psalm 28:8

I’ve blogged before about the Nike missiles I studied at Gateway National Recreation Area, when I wrote an article about them for New Jersey Monthly. So I paid attention when I recently spied a small mention of another Nike site under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service.

Joe and I took a tour of HM-69 in the Everglades in 2009, just after it opened to the public. The site, built in the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis in October, 1962, was one of four bases providing a defensive “ring of steel” around Miami during the Cold War years, when guarding against a Soviet attack was America’s top security priority. Everglades is, after all, only 160 miles from the coast of Cuba.

Since this is the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the park is running a Cold War exhibit through the end of this month at the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center Gallery. It features photos and artifacts donated by Nike missile veterans and others relating to their experience at that time in South Florida. A Nike Hercules has arrived just in time to be part of the display.

Those thirteen days of uncertainty in 1962 ended peacefully on October 28, after Nikita Khrushchev agreed to dismantle the Soviet missiles on Cuba, and President Kennedy called off an invasion of the island nation. But suspicion between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. continued long afterwards. I well remember growing up with the uneasy feeling that “something” could happen between our two nations at any moment.

And you know what? That sense that the world could go blooey at the drop of a hat never really goes away—it’s only the players that change. Today we worry about the Middle East, and the tension both inside and between the countries in that region, and how it could affect the U.S. The threat of another terrorist attack against our country always looms.

And isn’t it the same for us personally? An unexpected illness, a sudden financial crisis—they could happen at any time (and maybe are happening to you right now).

King David knew a lot about warfare from without, and conflict within. The books of 1 Samuel (chapters 16 on) and 2 Samuel detail his highs and lows—the many attempts on his life, the treacherous circumstances in which he often found himself, his rebellious household, and his personal involvement with adultery and murder.  And yet, he wrote, “Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident” (Psalm 27:3), and “Some boast in chariots, and some in horses; but we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God” (Psalm 20:7).

Yep, “Man is born to trouble, as surely as sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7). But for the children of God (John 1:12), hope lies not in missiles or treaties or tanks or bombs, but in the One who overcame even death. Because He is “the Lord of lords and King of Kings” (Deuteronomy 10:17, 1 Timothy 6:15, Revelation 17:14 & 19:16), we can rest easy no matter what comes along.

One comment

  1. Your good big brother says:

    You were probably too young to remember, and likely weren’t along with us any way, but back when we lived in then rural northern Illinois in the late Fifties, Mom took us Cub Scouts on a tour of a Nike missle base near Chicago. I can still remember standing below the launchers with those huge white missles hanging on them.

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