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COLUMN: A Senior Moment with Barry ZeVan: Thoughts on Syria and Diana Nyad

Updated: 02/18/2014 9:26 AM
Created: 09/11/2013 2:44 PM KSTP.com
By: Heidi Enninga

An opinion or two about the disparate events of the past few hours and days:

SYRIA - An instance of history somewhat repeating itself: Among those who may be reading this and share my vivid memory of President John F. Kennedy threatening, and seriously meaning, to confront Russia during the Cuban missile crisis in October, 1962--know Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev blinked. That blink possibly averted the beginning of World War Three. As I scribe this, it's been only three hours since it was announced Syria's President Bashar Assad has essentially blinked, too. He has apparently accepted the proposal of Russian President Vladimir Putin to have international supervision, control and eventual destruction of Syria's chemical weapons. What a web has been woven, proving truth is definitely stranger than fiction. 

I think President Obama's strong belief and desire to punish Syria militarily for that country's heinous, murderous acts against its own citizens created a global wake-up call to avoid a situation that also could possibly have ignited World War Three. It was possibly avoided, thanks to a Russian President's workable and acceptable suggested peaceful resolution of the problem. A Russian President creating a suggestion to avoid confrontation and settle matters peacefully? Bob Dylan's lyrics, "The times they are a changin'" come to my mind. It also comes to my mind having cooler heads having had the time to prevail. In my opinion, to President Obama's decision not to order military strikes on Syria without first consenting Congress, certainly illustrated timing is everything. Thawing a near repeat of Cold War relations--or much worse-- is certainly better than living with constant tension and fear. 9/11 is certainly a date we all remember wretchedly. Without sounding like Pollyanna, perhaps today, 9/10 will be remembered happily, as the day the world stepped back once again from the brink of a possible World War.

DIANA NYAD: Finally, a real story about a real heroine, even though eight days after her historic swim, she's being challenged about the veracity of her achievement by others in the swimming world. Nyad's amazing swimming victory over the Strait of Cuba's jellyfish, sting rays and sharks, completing the 110-mile swim from Havana to Key West as the first person to ever achieve such a gargantuan feat without a shark cage, was inspiring in so many, many ways. Her admonition to "Never, ever, give up", upon stepping ashore at Key West, followed by additionally articulate and inspiring comments was proof-positive that age is only a number, but human spirit and accomplishment against seemingly-impossible odds, is ageless.

I could watch her read the phone book and be perpetually inspired. Brava, brava, brava to her for possibly motivating anyone who thinks they "can't", realize they "can", and should. (In my opinion, even if the questions being raised today by other swimmers are found to be valid, Ms. Nyad should still be applauded for adding even a modicum of inspiration to anyone who says they "can't".)

Thanks, as always, for taking the time to read my geezer thoughts, and have a great day.

Barry ZeVan is a columnist for KSTP.com.


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