The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
-William Butler Yeats
July 3rd, 1983; an innocuous day for the world to end.
The town of Bethlehem, Indiana was a small place that the world forgot. It was a decent sort of town, the town where some people would be happy to raise a family, if they had ever heard of it. The population hadn't been over a thousand since the steel mill layoff in the seventies. A god-fearing town, with three churches spread out through their part of the county. And a dying town - the young men got out as quick as they could, joining up with the army or getting away to school for the select few that lucky. Some would die in the steel mill or on their father's farm if they had gotten the chance to live to old age.
July 4th would be the town's day to shine. A big celebration was planned, out of town musicians brought in to play in the town square. It wasn't just the nation's birthday, it was the towns centennial celebration as well. Unfortunately, other things were in the cards.