I grew up, as did others in my generation, with the pall of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) spread over us like the shadow of a 450 story building. For my younger readers MAD was a nuclear stand-off between the United States and the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (the now-dissolved U.S.S.R.). This stand-off was like a game of dare consisting of megatons of nuclear missiles aimed at out respective countries. The sheer volume of warheads aimed toward our respective countries was enough to keep either nation from “pushing the button” first.
Several years before the Cold War began to thaw a revolution took place in Iran. The Shah (who we had helped bring to power under rather questionable circumstances–a coup–in the 1950s) was deposed. The most recognizable Iranian during those days was the Ayatollah Khomeini who opposed, along with others, normal relations with the West.
On November 4, 1979, a group of students and militants took over the American Embassy in Tehran. Fifty-two Americans were held hostage for 444 days. The night time news show, Nightline was birthed to keep a running update of the crisis. Ultimately, the news program outlasted the subject matter by many years. If memory serves me properly the Atlanta Journal that landed on our driveway each afternoon kept a daily tracker of days in captivity on the front right corner.
Newly declassified documents from the period reveal that six Americans who had escaped the hostage taking made it to the house of the Canadian ambassador. Through a joint U.S.-Canadian effort an initiative was mounted to rescue them under the auspices of making a science fiction movie entitled, Argo. I hope it’s as good as this looks. And, a big hat tip to whoever chose the song.