Hanford's Cold War patriots made us safer

October 28, 2009 

I am proud to stand today with residents of the Tri-Cities and Americans across the country to pay tribute to our nation's Cold War-era nuclear workers, particularly those of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. These Cold War patriots gave so much for our country. They sacrificed for our freedom and strengthened our collective future and I am so pleased to help honor them, and this community, with a National Day of Remembrance.

The Cold War was a time of national concern, but also of national togetherness, and we saw Americans from coast to coast come together to build a stronger and more secure country.

I am proud of the important role our Hanford workers played in these efforts.

Their work was essential to the success of our country, but it was also very dangerous. The threat of espionage kept Hanford workers from sharing the nature of their tasks - even with their own families. And these extraordinary men and women came to work every day among dangerous and hazardous material. They put themselves at risk.

My grandfather settled in the Tri-Cities in 1916, and my dad grew up here. My dad saw how much the Hanford community sacrificed to help our nation have a strong military. And I grew up understanding the role this community played in our nation's history and the moral obligation our nation still holds to recognize these sacrifices and clean up the waste.

So many Americans - like those at Hanford - served our nation by building our nuclear defenses, and they deserve to be honored.

These dedicated workers paid a high price for their service, and many have developed disabling or fatal illnesses as a result of hazards that are unique to the production and testing of nuclear weapons.

That is why I was proud to stand with Sen. Maria Cantwell and many of our Senate colleagues to introduce a Senate Resolution formally recognizing the efforts of Cold War-era nuclear workers at Hanford and across the country.

And I am proud to recognize Oct. 30, 2009, as a national day of remembrance for American nuclear weapons workers.

But we can't forget the service didn't end with the fall of the Berlin Wall. It continues today through the amazing contributions of Hanford workers dedicated to making this site safe once again. This work has different goals, but many of the same dangers.

Once again, I am proud to honor the service of our Cold War patriots and I will continue to stand with the people of the Tri-Cities and the Hanford community as we work together to fulfill our legal and moral obligation to Hanford cleanup.

Tri-City Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service