From the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, the nuclear "football." (Jamie Chung)
The Real Story of the "Football" That Follows the President Everywhere -- Michael Dobbs, Smithsonian Magazine
Take a peek at the mysterious black briefcase that has accompanied every U.S. president since John F. Kennedy
It is the closest modern-day equivalent of the medieval crown and scepter—a symbol of supreme authority. Accompanying the commander in chief wherever he goes, the innocuous-looking briefcase is touted in movies and spy novels as the ultimate power accessory, a doomsday machine that could destroy the entire world.
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.
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WNU Editor: The below video describes how important the 'nuclear football' is.