Thursday, March 06, 2008
Published: Tuesday, March 04, 2008
To those who oppose the issuance of the New Jersey Cold War Certificate, a factual review of the proposal is due. The proposal started out as a medal, and then was reduced to a ribbon and now to a certificate.
The $350,000 cost is estimated at $1 per eligible New Jersey servicemember. This figure amounts to roughly one thousandth of one percent of the annual budget. Some of the veterans who would be awarded are those who stood eyeball to eyeball with the East German sentries along the Berlin Wall or manned the DMZ between North and South Korea. They also include sailors and Marines in the Caribbean during the Cuban missile crisis waiting for the Russians to blink and service personnel in Europe in 1968, when the Russians invaded Czechoslovakia.
Thirty-nine U.S. military aircraft and one civilian aircraft were either shot down by communist forces or crashed on the periphery of communist countries while flying operational missions during the Cold War. Of the 165 aircrew members involved in the incidents, 12 were returned or recovered alive, the remains of 28 were returned or recovered and 125 are listed as prisoners of war or missing in action. Three from New Jersey are included in that number.
What do we say to the families of these individuals? To begrudge veterans over the price of a piece of paper, even after these many years, is a signal that tends to denigrate the sacrifices of those who have served - that they are not worthy of support so that they may receive a piece of paper that recognizes their sacrifice and service on behalf of all Americans.
ROBERT McNULTY SR.
Egg Harbor Township