“There is no virtue whatsoever in creating clothing or accessories that are not practical”*…
Officially known as the “President’s emergency satchel,” the so-called nuclear “Football”—portable and hand-carried—is built around a sturdy aluminum frame, encased in black leather. A retired Football, emptied of its top-secret inner contents, is currently on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. “We were looking for something that would demonstrate the incredible military power and responsibilities of the president, and we struck upon this iconic object,” says curator Harry Rubenstein.
Contrary to popular belief, the Football does not actually contain a big red button for launching a nuclear war. Its primary purpose is to confirm the president’s identity, and it allows him to communicate with the National Military Command Center in the Pentagon, which monitors worldwide nuclear threats and can order an instant response. The Football also provides the commander in chief with a simplified menu of nuclear strike options—allowing him to decide, for example, whether to destroy all of America’s enemies in one fell swoop or to limit himself to obliterating only Moscow or Pyongyang or Beijing.
Although its origins remain highly classified, the Football can be traced back to the 1962 Cuban missile crisis…
Read more about “the ultimate power accessory” in “The Real Story of the ‘Football’ That Follows the President Everywhere.”
* Giorgio Armani
As we play “button, button, who’s got the button,” we might spare a thought for Showa Tenno Hirohito, the 124th Japanese monarch in an imperial line dating back to 660 B.C.; he died on this date in 1989– after serving six decades as the emperor of Japan. He was the longest serving monarch in Japanese history.
Made Regent in 1921, Hirohito was enthroned as emperor in 1928, two years after the death of his father, Emperor Taisho. During his first two decades as emperor, Hirohito presided over one of the most turbulent eras in his nation’s history. From rapid military expansion beginning in 1931 to the crushing defeat of Japan in 1945, Hirohito stood above the Japanese people as an absolute monarch whose powers were sharply limited in practice. After U.S. atomic bombs destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it was he who argued for his country’s surrender, explaining to the Japanese people in his first-ever radio address that the “unendurable must be endured.” Under U.S. occupation and postwar reconstruction, Hirohito was formally stripped of his powers and forced to renounce his alleged divinity, but he remained his country’s official figurehead until his death. He was succeeded as emperor by his only son, Akihito.