Every day say a prayer for Stanislav Petrov

You owe him your life.

On a cold Moscow night back in 1983, a badly paid 44 year old lieutenant colonel of the Soviet Air Defence Force saved the world.

When the Russian nuclear warning system detected an missile attack by the USA he correctly decided that it must be a mistake. He held his nerve when the alarms repeatedly warned of the imminent destruction of The Soviet Union by US missiles. The system was wrong and he was right.

Had he followed his orders and reported the warning to his higher command then a nuclear war would have started in minutes. His decision to cancel the warnings made him one of the most influential people of the 20th century. He saved more lives than anyone ever did.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanislav_Petrov