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My 2 Sense

The Greatest Events and Heros in My Lifetime


May 10, 2013

These are a few events and people who have impressed me and affected my life.

Many things have happened in my life that shaped the way I feel, think and have acted. Good and bad. I see major events that tell me what is good and what is evil in the world. What is honorable and what is to be emulated.

Some of the major ones affected many people all over the world as well as myself.

The End of Apartheid - I could have put Nelson Mandela on my "Hero" page as he very much is a hero of mine, but my admiration for him deals as much with an event that he created and reflects the man he is. That event was the peaceful transition of power in South Africa from the white minority to the black majority who inhabited the land since time immemorial.

Released from prison in 1990, he led negotiations with President F.W. de Klerk to abolish apartheid and establish multi-racial elections in 1994, in which he was elected President and formed a Government of National Unity.
Nelson Mandela
For years I had dreaded a bloodbath when 40 million blacks were freed from apartheid and took over power from the 4 million white racist Afrikaans. But this did not occur, because of the faith, heart and soul of one man who so impressed both his followers and his enemies that it allowed him to bridge a seemingly impossible gap to permit a power shift without bloodletting and revenge.

This filled me with a joy that I can still feel, perhaps because of the certainity I had of a terrible outcome and that I was proved wrong and my faith in the goodness of people was reinforced.

The Egypt-Israel Treaty - was signed by Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and witnessed by United States President Jimmy Carter on March 26.1979, following the 1978 Camp David Accords.

This incredible event blew me away. It made me feel anything was possible. The peace treaty between Egypt and Israel was signed sixteen months after Sadat's visit to Israel in 1977 after intense negotiation.

The courage of these two men in the face of the hatred toward Israel and the mistrust towards Egypt was immense. And again, my heart was warm with the feeling that mankind could solve differences without bloodshed.
Menachem Began and Anwar Sadat
Sadly, the truth of this was proven wrong in this case with Sadat's assassination two years later. And here we are 34 years later and nothing much has changed in the Middle East.

The Cuban Missle Crisis
I was a mere lad of 13 when the crisis in Cuba came to a head. It was 7pm on October 22, 1962 when President Kennedy came on TV and called Krushchev's bluff over the Russian missles in Cuba. We saw the ships heading towards Cuba and the American ships starting the blockadde.

I was terrified and turned to my dad and asked him if this meant war. Now maybe he was just trying to make me feel better, but I'll never forget his response. "No son, the Russians will back down."
Cuban Missile Crisis
He continued, "There won't be a war until the Americans run out of water, and then they'll come up here to get it and we will have a war." And the thing is, it is not out of the question. America has proven to me it will do whatever it takes to get what it needs.

The Kennedy Assassination
I will never forget the P.A. announcement in high school on Friday, November 22, 1963 when the principal came on and told us President Kennedy was shot in Dallas.

Our teacher, Mr. Kadonaga, a Japanese Canadian said, "Hope it wasn't a man of colour." That stuck with me for a long time.

And then two days later, our family had just come home from church. Mom was making lunch and I alone was downstairs watching TV in the rec room when Lee Harvey Oswad was shot by Jack Ruby. I dashed upstairs to inform my parents and sister.
KennedyOswald
As a 16-year-old, politics weren't in the forefront of my conciousness. I viewed Kennedy as a hero simply because he was young and handsome and dynamic and had stood up to the Russians. But one thing really hit me like a ton of bricks and that was Lee Harvey Oswald saying to the camera while in custody, "I'm a patsy." And I believed him and still do. He was setup, by whom we'll never know.

The Space Program
What kid wasn't thrilled with the US Space program? From Alan Shepards sub-orbital flight in 1961 to John Glenn's first orbitting of our planet, I was enthralled.

There were terrible tragedies; the fire on the pad of Apollo 1 in 1967, the burning up of the shuttle Columbia on re-entry in 2003 and the Challenger explosion in 2007.

There were miracles too, Apollo 11, with the first man on the moon in 1969, and of course the nearly impossible recovery of Apollo13.

There are those who debate whether the space program was worth the expenditure given the needs of humans on earth, but for me, the heroism, adventurism and inventiveness expressed the best in human beings.
Alan Sheppard