Happy May-Day

Happy May-Day

Wouldn’t you think enough is enough? Here it is May 1 - May Day - and it’s 35 degrees F. with a mixture of rain and snow. I swear I just saw a squirrel pass out from confusion. His poor little brain couldn’t take any more, I guess. Fell right off the tree.

May Day has changed a lot over the years. When I was stationed in Karamursel, Turkey during the Cuban Blockade—the showdown between Nikita Khrushchev and John Kennedy—May Day meant a nationalistic show of power by the Soviets. Every May 1, they held huge parades to show off their military might with goose-stepping soldiers and armored vehicles, rocket launchers, tanks, and all manner of offensive weaponry.

Their Navy did similar things, mostly in the Black Sea where we watched them closely. The first week of May was one of the most active weeks of the year for rocket launches, and with a whole gob of missiles capable of carrying a nuclear payload to the United States, it was a tense time as we raced to keep track of everything.

The fifties had us practicing the “duck and cover” routine while the sixties had us building bomb shelters with provisions to outlast the nuclear winter that was sure to follow.

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