The Velvet Fist
President John Fitzgerald Kennedy woke up Tuesday October 16th with many things on his mind. There was the expansion of communism into Vietnam and the Soviet Union threatening to take over West Berlin among the many issues of the day. But in the shadows of the small tropical island of Cuba, the Soviet Union was writing the story that may have brought an end to civilization as we knew it. Had it not been for the velvet fist of the American President, we may be living in a different world today or we may not be living at all. A person's true character cannot be revealed until times of great decision. JFK held the lives of millions in his hands. He was about to face the toughest two weeks of his presidency, possibly his life, and he did not even know it.
Going back a few days to prior to that Tuesday, Air Force Major Rudolph Anderson Jr. was making a scheduled U-2 flight over western Cuba.
These flights had been going on for some time. The flights had started out at one a month and then it was felt that two a month were needed. The film aboard the flight was to be analyzed in the usual fashion. On Monday afternoon, the interpreters noticed the beginnings of a base for housing medium-range ballistic missiles. The key military personnel were notified right away. It was decided that the President would be notified on Tuesday morning.
President Kennedy had been lied to by the Soviets. He needed answers and he needed them fast. Having these offensive nuclear weapons only ninety miles from American soil was unacceptable. He called a meeting at 11:45 that morning with several high-ranking government officials. This committee was to be known as EXCOM. .