The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis was a frightening time. U.S. President John F. Kennedy confronted Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev on the missile bases that Khrushchev was building in Cuba. The rockets were aimed at America.
American citizens, especially those who lived in South Florida, were quite alarmed. We seemed to be on the verge of war.
I remember being a kid and looking outside to see tanks rolling down the street alongside my Miami Beach school. We were all on red alert.
Now, so many years later, there has been a revelation. Deep in the Everglades of Florida, a secret missile base had been built to store and launch rockets if need be.
The 40-acre facility included a missile assembly building, three barns where missiles were stored, a guardhouse and an underground control room. Three of the four missile sites have been dismantled. The base is still intact. It contains 22 buildings. It had housed 130 military personnel. Apparently, the United States of America took the thought of projectiles aimed at its citizens in a very serious way.
It is quite ironic that the same U.S. government encouraged Israel, during the First Gulf War, to ignore scud missile attacks on Tel Aviv. The theory was that Israeli retaliation would complicate the war effort. Incredibly, Israel agreed.
Since Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza thousands of missiles launched from Gaza have hit Sderot and neighboring Israeli cities. Perhaps the coast seemed clear because of Israel’s precedent of non-retaliation to rocket attacks. Terrorists were delighted. They had nothing to lose. Israel had established a policy of unilateral restraint.
Finally, after years of constant bombardment, Israel did what any normal country would have done in the beginning. They fought back. The world was outraged. Israel had created the idea that it was a giant punching bag and now the status quo had been upset.
The U.S. government is now giving tours of the missile site in the Everglades. It is, in essence, a museum documenting a historic period and the dangers that ensued. Israel already has a museum documenting history and danger to the Jewish nation. Its name is Yad Vashem.