Friday, July 15, 2011

Duluth Veterans Historical Center Cold War exhibit

Duluth/Superior Area Community Foundation President Holly Sampson says global awareness has made significant strides from a couple of decades ago.

"At that point, it was really visionary in its thinking because it really was about helping residents of the Duluth and Superior area understanding the global nature of our world. That's certainly a reality for all of us today, but back in 1984 it was much more of a vision."

Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center Director Bob Fuhrman says funding from the Global Awareness Fund will cover part of the cost of the center's Cold War exhibit. Fuhrman says the exhibit is important because Wisconsin and Minnesota were in the middle of the possible crossfire between the United States and the Soviet Union early on.

"Prior to the intercontinental ballistic missile era, the northern tier of the United States is the front line of the Cold War in terms of facing the threat of nuclear attack from the Soviet Union. It's the polar route that nuclear bombers would take from the Soviet Union to the United States over the North Pole, that's what puts us on the frontlines."

Fuhrman says the Cold War threat of nuclear attack had deep effects on the Nation's psyche.

"There was an awful lot of chess being played through the Cold War. The Air National Guard outfit that eventually came into possession of the Air Force facility here had deployments down in the Cuba area. There was no shooting-war down there, but speaking to veterans from those deployments, there were a lot of close-up and personal encounters with the quote-unquote 'Red Enemy.'"

Fuhrman hopes the exhibit will raise awareness of the Cold War's lasting impact on the mindset of the Twin Ports and the nation alike.

"What we hope the exhibit does is commemorate the service of Cold War veterans, and there are a lot of them in this area, and make people aware of what exactly the impact of the Cold War era would be.