“We begin bombing in five minutes.”
And, really, was there a time in our history when we needed to have a few seconds of levity more than during the height of the Cold War?
On August 11, 1984, as Ronald Reagan was in the midst of his re-election campaign, he sat down before a microphone to give his weekly radio address. The topic? Newly-passed legislation that would allow student religious groups to congregate within high school walls (during non-school hours). Instead of a simple “check one-two”, though, Reagan decided to have a little fun before the broadcast went live, saying into the mic:
“My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.”
Oh that silly Ronnie.
No, it was not heard over the air that day, but somehow the clip leaked, and, boy, did it ruffle more than a few feathers on the other side of the world (you know… over where they had a hammer and sickle on their flag.)
Yes, it was obviously a joke, and yes, most of us in the good ol’ U.S. of A. had a nice little chuckle about it, but was it appropriate?
Well, we’re reminded of ‘Chainsaw’ in the 1987 classic Summer School, who kicked off class one morning by screaming, before quickly adding, “Tension breaker. Had to be done.”
Indeed, Mr. President, your little nine-second bit of off-air good humor was just the thing we needed that warm summer day to help break the tension, if only for a short time. And we loved you for it.
We ♥ “We begin bombing in five minutes.”