What If?

By Bill Shepard

I have listened to about a week of nothing but negative criticism concerning the “false alarm” that was heard in Hawaii. The world should be giving sincere thanks that it was false, instead of the real thing. What if it had been the Real Thing?
Over and over, the various news reporters continue the story of the false report, and I keep saying to myself, “Thank God it was a false report and not real.”

We live in a world when the false alarm could easily have been real. We are never more than a push of a button away from the real happening. Think about it! The world should be thankful! The false alarm should have awakened the world to reality-ours is a dangerous world and perilous times are upon us. What if that false report had been real? Instead of criticism, parts of, if not all of Hawaii would be in smoldering ruins and mourning, and the world would no doubt be at war.

I hold vivid memories of that day long ago when the world was awakened by a report that was not false! That time it was real and the horrors of that happening are still in the minds of those who remember. The world must not forget!

I do not pretend that I have any answers, but those who are in responsible positions should give a lot of serious thought to the “what ifs” we are facing. The world may be dependent upon them.

Winston Churchill is credited with saying, “The whole world seems to be drifting toward catastrophe and no one knows how to stop it.” Only God knows how close we have come to that point or moment, since the great leader spoke those words of warning.

Some of us can recall the time when the Russians were building missile bases in Cuba and President Kennedy and Mr. Khrushchev faced each other. When the Russian ships, loaded with materials for the bases were sailing in the direction of Cuba, President Kennedy ordered his Navy to stop the ships at a certain point. The world stood still as the Russian ships moved slowly forward toward their destination.
This writer was living in Florida at the time and remembers well how tense the moment was. The two strongest nuclear powers were facing each other; the moment of relief came when the Russian ships were ordered to turn back. The world breathed a sigh of relief. Just as then, the world should be breathing a sigh of relief now. What if the Russian ships had not turned back?

One Biblical character wrote that “in the last days perilous times would come,” and he goes on to describe those times and the happenings. Are we now a part of those times?

Someone wrote that those who forget the lessons history taught have to repeat them-Think About It! The next alarm we read or hear about may not be a false one. What if it is not? Each of us should give serious thought to our answer to that question-What If?

Students of history can recall the many lessons history has taught, but mankind seems to be slow learners or forgetful. Which is it?

Mr. Shepard is a native of Darlington, S.C., and a current resident of Piedmont, S.C. He is the author of “Mill Town Boy” and “Bruised”. He has been sharing his tales of growing up in Darlington for decades, and we are delighted to share them each week.

Author: Duane Childers

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