Snowe, Webb, Lincoln, Landrieu Announce Bill to Honor Cold War Veterans
WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senators Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), Jim Webb (D-Va.), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), and Mary Landrieu (D-La.) today introduced the Cold War Service Medals Act of 2009, bipartisan legislation to authorize the secretaries of the military departments to award Cold War Service Medals to American veterans. To date, no medal exists to honor the men and women who served and defended the United States during the Cold War.
“From the end of World War II to dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Cold War veterans were in the vanguard of the Nation’s defenses,” said Senator Snowe. “Although long overdue, this legislation will honor and recognize the American patriots who for nearly half-a-century defended the Nation against the advance of communist ideology in the form of the Cold War Service Medal. The commitment, motivation, and fortitude of these brave service members was second to none and their actions should be recognized in a long-standing military custom befitting their patriotism and service.”
“The millions of Americans who served in uniform in the armed forces during the Cold War, spanning more than four decades, were the living embodiment of our nation’s strategy of deterrence,” said Senator Webb. “In their efforts to preserve peace, hundreds died during isolated armed confrontations when the Cold War flashed hot at remote locations around the world. This legislation will appropriately honor those who served in an effort that resulted in the largest single expansion in the number of democratically elected governments in world history.”
“America’s Cold War veterans deserve every honor we can bestow upon them for their hard work and dedication to keeping our nation safe,” Senator Lincoln said. “The Cold War Service Medal would allow military service members, veterans, and their families to receive the recognition and honor they rightfully deserve. I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure our veterans receive the support and care they and their families need. It’s the least we can do as a grateful nation.”
“For 46 years, we were engaged in a worldwide battle against communism,” said Senator Landrieu. “During that time, there were countless heroes, who served in our nation’s Armed Forces and played a critical role in America’s triumph. These men and women, who sacrificed so much for so many, deserve to be awarded the Cold War Service Medal in recognized of their faithful service to their country and tireless defense of freedom around the world.”
Specifically, the Cold War Service Medal Act of 2009 would allow the Defense Department to issue a Cold War Service Medal to any honorably discharged veteran who served on active duty for not less than two years or was deployed for thirty days or more during the period from September 2, 1945, to December 26, 1991. In the case of those veterans who are now deceased, the medal could be issued to their family or representative, as determined by the Defense Department. The bill would also express the sense of Congress that the Secretary of Defense should expedite the design of the medal and expedite the establishment and implementation mechanisms to facilitate the issuance of the Cold War Service Medal. The award of the Cold War Service Medal is supported by the American Cold War Veterans, the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and other veterans’ services organizations.