Happy Arkhipov Day

Two mothers relax on the floor of my library with their babies when my dad sends me an email reminding me that October 27 is Arkhipov Day. Not yet a year old, the babies haven’t begun to walk. Their smiles rise so radiantly joyous you instinctively smile back. Sleet drills against the library windows.

On October 27, 1962, Vasili Arkhipov refused to agree with his fellow Soviet submarine officers and fire a nuclear-tipped torpedo at the USS Randolph, preventing the nuclear holocaust that would have World War III.

The mothers check out children’s books, bundle up their babies again, and head out into the sleet that’s turned to wet snowflakes: everyday Vermont.

World War III was averted not by decisions in the White House or in the Kremlin, but in the sweltering control room of a Soviet submarine. Vasili Arkhipov saved the world. We should celebrate his obedience to humankind, not to the Nation-State, on October 27, Arkhipov Day, a proposed international holiday by students of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

— George Stanciu. For more about Vasili Arkhipov and my dad, read here.

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By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

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