WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) today announced Senate passage of S. Res. 275, a Senate resolution designating October 30, 2011, as a national day of remembrance for nuclear weapons program workers. The Day of Remembrance honors the thousands of men and women who supported the nation’s nuclear efforts during the Cold War.
BINGAMAN: “Since World War II, hundreds of thousands of men and women, including uranium miners, millers, and haulers, have served the United States by building our nuclear defense weapons. I’m glad we’re setting aside time to remember our fellow Americans who have paid a high price for their service to develop the nuclear weapons program for United States.”
ALEXANDER: “There are thousands of Americans who defended our nation during the Cold War, who didn’t serve in the heat of battle but in the laboratory, where they worked with hazardous materials that were little understood at that time. Many of those Americans are sick—more in Tennessee than in any other state—and we should take the time to recognize their quiet sacrifice for our safety and freedom.”
REID: “Nevada’s Cold War veterans and their families served their country at the Nevada National Security Site, where over one thousand nuclear weapons detonations took place over four decades of nuclear testing. This work helped America win the Cold War, but it also left thousands of workers with debilitating illness that far too often led to their premature deaths. It is appropriate for us to dedicate October 30th as a day to remember the tremendous contribution, service, and sacrifice of Nevada’s Cold War veterans, and nuclear weapons workers across the country. Given their immeasurable contributions to our nation’s safety during the Cold War and the great personal sacrifices that they and their families have made, there is no doubt that they deserve this recognition.”
CANTWELL: “This resolution honors Washington state’s Hanford workers and nuclear weapons workers across the country for their service and sacrifice made building America’s nuclear defense. Many of these workers had inadequate information on the long-term health risks posed by their work, risks that in many cases shortened their lives. I will continue fighting for the benefits and health care access our nuclear workers have earned and deserve. Hanford tells an important chapter in our nation’s history, and I am fighting to pay tribute to those who labored at Hanford by preserving the historic B Reactor as part of a new National Historic Park.”
CORKER: “Civilian workers and their families have made extraordinary sacrifices to keep our nation safe, particularly during the Cold War. A day of remembrance will allow all Americans to give thanks for the dedication of these patriotic citizens, whose quiet, often unheralded work helped preserve freedom at home and abroad.”
UDALL (CO): “After World War II, hundreds of thousands of Americans went to work to build our nation’s nuclear arsenal and help us win the Cold War, and many were exposed to dangerous substances on the job, often without their knowledge. Among them were thousands of Coloradans who worked at the Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site. I’ll continue fighting to get them the compensation they deserve, and I’m proud to recognize and thank them for their sacrifices.”
CRAPO: “Individuals who have been adversely affected by our nation’s nuclear weapons programs must be justly honored and remembered for their dedicated work and service to our country. Designating a national day of remembrance in their honor is just one way we can show our support and recognition for their sacrifice.”
UDALL (NM): “Our nation’s Cold War veterans and their families made tremendous sacrifices in the name of security, and for that we will always owe them a debt of gratitude. We often hear about the scientists behind the Manhattan Project in New Mexico, but many others, like maintenance workers, miners, millers and janitors unknowingly compromised their health to develop our nuclear deterrent. It’s important that we continue to recognize their contributions.”
GILLIBRAND: “It is important that we always remember the efforts of our former nuclear workers from New York and across the country. These unsung heroes unknowingly sacrificed their health and well-being to advance our Cold War efforts during a critical time in our nation’s history. We owe out Cold War heroes a lifetime of support.”
The bipartisan resolution unanimously passed the Senate last night.
The text of the resolution is below:
Designating October 30, 2011, as a national day of remembrance for nuclear weapons program workers.
Whereas, since World War II, hundreds of thousands of men and women, including uranium miners, millers, and haulers, have served the United States by building the nuclear defense weapons of the United States;
Whereas these dedicated workers paid a high price for their service to develop a nuclear weapons program for the benefit of the United States, including having developed disabling or fatal illnesses;
Whereas the Senate recognized the contribution, service, and sacrifice these patriotic men and women made for the defense of the United States in Senate Resolution 151, 111th Congress, agreed to May 20, 2009, and Senate Resolution 653, 111th Congress, agreed to September 28, 2010;
Whereas a national day of remembrance time capsule has been crossing the United States, collecting artifacts and the stories of the nuclear workers relating to the nuclear defense era of the United States;
Whereas these stories and artifacts reinforce the importance of recognizing these nuclear workers; and
Whereas these patriotic men and women deserve to be recognized for the contribution, service, and sacrifice they have made for the defense of the United States: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate—
(1) designates October 30, 2011, as a national day of remembrance for nuclear weapons program workers, including uranium miners, millers, and haulers, of the United States; and
(2) encourages the people of the United States to support and participate in appropriate ceremonies, programs, and other activities to commemorate October 30, 2011, as a national day of remembrance for past and present workers in the nuclear weapons program of the United States.