On 26th September, 1983, at the nadir of the Cold War, this man — Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov — made a judgement call that saved my life. (I was then living five miles from the Vickers Tank Factory in Leeds and about ten miles from the M1/M62 intersection — both major strategic targets.) If you're over 25 years old and live in the UK, he saved your life, too. If you're over 25 years old and lived in the USA, there's about a 70% probability that he saved you. And so on. Iterate for everyone in every NATO and Warsaw Pact country, all 750 million of us.
He lost his job for it, and suffered a nervous breakdown. He doesn't consider himself to be a hero. Nevertheless, he bent the regulations and risked punishment to prevent a disaster from overwhelming us all.
I'm going to raise a glass to him tonight. How about you?