Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 4:48 pm
"One simple, dynamo-technology, low voltage switch stood between the United States and a major catastrophe."
That is the blunt 1969 assessment of Parker F. Jones, the then supervisor of the nuclear weapons safety department at Sandia National Laboratories, in a newly declassified document that sheds light on a 1961 accident in which the United States almost nuked North Carolina.
Asheville, a mountain town in North Carolina, is known for at least two important native sons: writers Thomas Wolfe, whose 1929 novel Look Homeward, Angel eviscerated some locals, and Charles Frazier, whose 1997 civil war novel Cold Mountain is set in the nearby hills. But there is also a little-known story of another writer — F. Scott Fitzgerald — who, along with his wife Zelda, had devastating connections to the town.
David Cox Jr. talks with NPR's Melissa Block about how his father would have loved getting his ring back
"I can't touch it or pick it up without thinking about him and I can't pick it up without thinking about this journey of the ring."
That's David C. Cox Jr. of North Carolina talking Wednesday about the rather amazing saga of the ring his father had to trade for food in a German prisoner of war camp during World War II — a ring that has now made it back to the Cox family after seven decades.