Resolution calling for July 16 as a “National Day of Remembrance”.
One comment often made by sons and daughters of Atomic Veterans is “maybe some day this nation will admit that it screwed-up” and will make amends for the many injuries and deaths that have resulted from the nuclear test program. Congress moves slowly and only with a great deal of constant and forceful “encouragement”. Nothing will occur without a concerted effort on the part of all informed and interested individuals.
Only by generating an “official recognition”, can the general public be convinced of the legitimacy of Atomic Veteran contributions and the resulting medical effects.
The following is another letter sent to our Congressional Representatives requesting the designation of July 16 as a “National Day of Remembrance”.
Children of Atomic Veterans
2301 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
July 16, 2000 will be the 55th anniversary of “Trinity”, the very first U.S. atomic explosion. This is a date that will be remembered by the many aware individuals effected by the nuclear power which issued forth that day.
This day introduced an awesome power which was destined to effect the lives, health and futures of so many, not only on a national level but also on a global level, for radiation respects neither friend or foe.
As the widow of a 32 year old casualty of U.S. nuclear testing, his children and I request that you introduce and support a House Joint Resolution calling for July 16th to be designated as a “National Day of Remembrance”.
Atomic Veterans, who were exposed to ionizing radiation while in the line of duty, deserve acknowledgment and respect for their spearheading contributions to the development of the nuclear age. Their sacrifices of life and health, which resulted from their performance of a patriotic “secret” duty, ensured this nation’s freedom. Our nation must know that nuclear explosions did not occur in a vacuum and that approximately four hundred-thousand U.S. service-members and ninety-thousand more civilians were exposed to ionizing radiation from nuclear weapons test development.
A “National Day of Remembrance” would honor not only Atomic Veterans, this issue goes far beyond that. WWWII prisoners of war, nuclear material handlers, clean-up crews, uranium miners, nuclear plant workers, downwinders and some of today’s service-members have all experienced the effects of radiation exposure. Spouses and the sons and daughters of exposed individuals have had to live with the lingering results of their “secret” duties.
The nuclear age was born, advanced and refined through their efforts and contributions. The resulting casualties, injuries, failing health and future genetic concerns are unacknowledged and unrecognized by this nation—the numerous casualties of the “Cold War” victory, even today, remain unknown.
This nation has felt it appropriate to honor and publish the names of the casualties of the Vietnam War and will soon honor the Korean War veterans. These honors are deserved, for they made the greatest of all sacrifices. The Atomic Veterans deserve no less — they too died and were injured from dedicated service to their nation. More than a half century after “Trinity” they still remain as “nameless”, “faceless”—forgotten casualties of the Cold War. Because of “secrecy”, even their unit histories do not mention their nuclear test contributions.
Because of “Cold War secrecy” these path-finders were denied appropriate honor and recognition. We request that our nation now be afforded the opportunity to formally acknowledge the “historical contributions and sacrifices” made on the forefront of the emerging nuclear age. Designating July 16th as a “National Day of Remembrance” would give this nation that opportunity.
I appreciate and thank you for considering his family’s request, and offer the support of all Children of Atomic Veterans in bringing about this “National Day of Remembrance” — not simply as a hollow resolution by Congress, but as a media happening which would truly make this nation aware of the nuclear age Vanquards. Please let this be an event in which this total nation can partake.
cc: Senator Kohl
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