“Summer Thunder” by Stephen King provides an interesting read as our 2017 summer season comes to a close, and North Korea rattles its sabers. The ultimate horror is not a car that eats people such as in King’s story “Mile 81” or a supernatural evil being such as the character in “Bad Little Kid.” Horror now has a face and a voice.
In King’s story “Summer Thunder”, he depicts the end of the world due to the unleashing of nuclear weapons . Two men, Robinson and Timlin, and a stray dog, Gandalf, remain. We see the last moments of their lives as Robinson slides a hypodermic needle into Gandalf, Timlin, uses his revolver on himself, and Robinson mounts his Fat Boy, guns it and just has time to hit fifth gear as he depart this world which has become a “dying hulk.”
The ongoing threats from North Korea have been compared to the Cuban Missile Crisis, and two men from the Miami Valley of Ohio were there when the 13-day confrontation (Oct. 16-28, 1962) between the U.S. and the Soviet Union occurred. Fidel Castro had requested of Nikita Khrushchev that missiles be sent to Cuba. In late summer of 1962, missile- launch sites were being built.
David Holfinger, a 1956 Bradford High School graduate, served in the U.S. Navy from 1957-1976. As a member of the first patrol squadron P3A and an electronic operator, his team, an anti-submarine warfare unit, was responsible for flying reconnaissance back and forth from Bermuda to Cuba, keeping track of ships to determine the nature of the cargoes aboard the ships and checking for Soviet submarines. When President John F. Kennedy gave his famous Monday evening speech, Holfinger , as senior technician on his plane, was in school at Norfolk, learning to analyze information being received in the plane from the sonobuoys that they had placed in the waters. Holfinger quickly found himself back with his unit.
Holfinger says, “We didn’t talk about the mission and possible outcomes. We slept, ate, flew the planes and maintained them. We had no problem with our commander-in-chief, because he was past military and there was no question about his decision-making.”
In terms of today’s commander-in-chief, President Donald Trump, and the current situation, Holfinger indicates, “What’s going on today is ridiculous. It’s crazy. What are you gonna do? I don’t know the agenda of Kim Jong-un. It all depends on what he does. It’s gotta be the generals and admirals that make the decisions. I don’t have any doubt that President Trump will listen to them.” He adds, “And we’ve always got to be concerned about China. They’re wealthy with a big military.”
Jack McDonald is not as optimistic as Holfinger. He was a seaman aboard the USS North Hampton, a communications ship responsible for links between the White House, the Pentagon, and the ships in the blockade.
Of President Kennedy, McDonald says, “We trusted JFK completely. He was loved by everybody. He came aboard our ship. He understood the military., wanted no war unless he had to do it. Had to stop the Soviets from getting in a position where they had us over a barrel.”
He believes that we are now in a terrible situation: “That North Korean president has been rattling his sabers for a long time. I can’t understand why we’ve let it go this far. Look at Iraq. We invaded Iraq because we thought they had weapons of mass destruction. Furthermore, if we had gotten a united Korea back in 1953, we wouldn’t be in this situation today.
“If we put Kim Jong in a situation where he hasn’t much to lose, there’s no telling what he’ll do. We don’t know who to trust, but we have to give our leaders a chance. What are our choices? Impeach? A new president? A new staff? I don’t like Trump, but they won’t give him half a chance.”
And then he begins to discuss his opinion of Congress.:“Congress are puppets, millionaires, and can’t or won’t do anything. They’re more interested in themselves than in those they’re supposed to represent.
“I’m a federal government retiree, and every year my health premiums go up, never down. Congress should have to live with the same health care that other Americans have to live with.”
Threats of war, health care, taxes, failing infrastructures , partisan divides, riots, unemployment in large sections of the country, terrorism — both foreign and domestic — racial divides. We have major issues, and I’m sure you can add to my list.
Vivian Blevins is a consultant for the Training Solutions Group Inc. who teaches courses in writing and literature for major telecom company employees. Reach her at (937) 778-3815 or firstname.lastname@example.org.