Yes, it was that important. The Cuban Missile Crisis was that dangerous. The President was that heroic and wise.
A decorated Naval hero, Kennedy knew war and never stopped trying to avoid it. And he remained steadfast in his belief that Nikita Krushchev, a diehard Communist, was still at heart a man like him who loved his children and all children and didn't want to see the world blown up by nuclear war. That's why Kennedy so imaginatively gave his adversary a way to both extricate himself from the situation and still save face among his countrymen and political adversaries within the Soviet Union.
President Kennedy celebrated our similarities and our ties to this fragile planet. That's why this is one of my favorite of his quotes: