During October 1962, the United States and the Soviet Union came to the brink of war over nuclear-armed missiles that Nikita Khrushchev had shipped to Cuba. Though President Kennedy talked tough in his Oct. 22 broadcast, he secretly agreed to remove U.S. weapons along the Soviet periphery.
Those who believe that this month's collapse of global financial markets is an unprecedented disaster need to study history. The Great Crash of 1929 -- so severe that it makes this year's meltdown pale in comparison -- began Oct. 24. In 1987, Oct. 19 became known as "Black Monday," as Wall Street investors watched the market nose-dive 22 percent and lose $500 billion in value in a single trading session -- still the biggest one-day loss of value in history.
While Sept. 11, 2001, always will be remembered as a day of terror for Americans, October has many more, and all of them cost some of our countrymen their lives. The 23rd of this month is the 25th anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Marine headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon -- a radical Islamic suicide attack that killed 241 Americans. In the aftermath of that assault, U.S. troops pulled out of Lebanon.
On Oct. 7, 1985, Palestinian terrorists hijacked the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro and murdered an American passenger, Leon Klinghoffer. Three days later, they were captured in Sicily as they tried to flee aboard an Egyptian aircraft. In announcing the success, President Reagan said, "You can run, but you can't hide."
Fifteen years ago this month, there was a 19-hour gunfight in Mogadishu, Somalia, which claimed the lives of 18 U.S. Army Rangers and Delta Force personnel. During the operation, two U.S. MH-60 helicopters were downed, and Chief Warrant Officer Michael Durant was captured. For their courage in trying to save him, Master Sgt. Gary Gordon and Sgt. 1st Class Randy Shughart were awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. Within weeks, President Bill Clinton ordered U.S. forces to withdraw from Somalia.
And as for that first "October surprise" that wasn't: The American hostages were released Jan. 20, 1981 -- the day of Ronald Reagan's inauguration. He was the man the Iranians didn't want to fight.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.
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