Gary Stephens is the author of the novel Epiphany, a chilling predictor of events that began unfolding soon after its publication ... and continue to unfold today. Available in Kindle, Nook, paperback, and hardcover editions
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At loose ends following high school graduation in 1965 and facing the prospect of the military draft, I enlisted in the U.S. Army. I never guessed at the time that the Army would be my career - my home - for the next twenty years. And although I went on to graduate from college and had successful second and third careers in the defense and space industries, nothing in those later endeavors provided me the same sense of accomplishment - both personal and shared - of my Army years.
In response to questions from a historian in 1999 about the workings of the Nike-Hercules antiaircraft missile system, which had been my first military assignment, I found that I remembered that system, that assignment, and those people with whom I served more than thirty years earlier with a clarity that astounded me. In 1965, only three years had passed since the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the lives of millions in the New York City metropolitan area where I was stationed had been literally in the hands of no more than several hundred anonymous soldiers like me who manned the radars and nuclear missiles that defended them from Soviet attack. This same scenario quietly took place near most major cities across the Country. And in pondering why my memories were so vivid, it occurred to me that it was in this time and at this place that the boy of whom little had been required was for the first time expected to be the man of whom perhaps everything would be required.
My 1999 non-fiction article, Three Hours from Armageddon, was successful in describing life on the missile sites, but I knew I could only capture the personalities of people with whom I served and came to call friends over many assignments in the form of a novel. Epiphany is that work, and my tribute to them.
"There are places I'll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all"
In My Life - Lennon / McCartney