The Tri-Cities will celebrate a National Day of Remembrance on Friday for Cold War nuclear weapons workers at Hanford and other Department of Energy sites.
Cold War Patriots, a nonprofit organization, has organized a celebration from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Richland Community Center, 500 Amon Park Drive, Richland.
The event will launch a new project to add to quilts honoring Cold War nuclear and uranium workers. Supplies will be on hand to allow participants to sign fabric quilt squares with markers to honor workers.
Participants can commemorate themselves or other workers, including to remember those who have died. Workers and their relatives who cannot attend the Richland program may provide information for a square online at www.coldwar patriots.org, and a square will be created for them.
The squares will be assembled into quilts that will tour the country to be displayed, including in the halls of Congress, according to Cold War Patriots.
The group wants to keep national attention on the estimated 700,000 workers on national nuclear weapons projects in 350 facilities between World War II and the end of the Cold War and the sacrifices they made, it said.
The program at the Richland celebration, which will start around noon, will include speeches by elected officials or their representatives. But time also will be set aside to let Cold War workers speak.
At last year's ceremony they told stories both funny and touching, said Eric Jackson of Cold War Patriots. It also was a chance for retired Hanford workers to meet old friends, he said.
The CREHST museum in Richland will bring a display with photos, Jackson said.
Each year, the U.S. Senate designates Oct. 30 as a National Day of Remembrance to honor Cold War nuclear workers, but because it falls on a Sunday this year the Tri-Cities observance will be held two days earlier.
"Many of these workers had inadequate information on the long-term health risks posed by their work," said Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., in a statement.
The Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program was created to compensate Hanford, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and other workers made ill by exposure to workplace radiation or toxic chemicals.
For more information on the compensation program, call the Hanford Resource Center at 946-3333 or 888-654-0014.