Message from the NFFE Veterans Committee
“And so the greatest of American triumphs… became a peculiarly joyless victory. We had won the Cold War, but there would be no parades.” — Robert M. Gates, 1996
Each year this day comes around and I think back to all the previous occasions I have given pause to recall in wonder the grandness of our nation’s millions of people who’ve served in military uniform. Some have seen battle; some have bled and endured pain; and some come home handicapped from their injuries… many of which are life long, with some wounds obvious, yet many more hidden. But there are also millions who served honorably aboard ships at sea, in aircraft high above and operating from outposts and stations in peaceful nations, as well. Of the estimated 16,962,000 Veterans living today, the vast majority of them are Cold Warriors.
For 46 years the Cold War went on and on. Although the term “Cold War” has conjured up some ugly stereotypes for decades, it involved many shades of warfare, both conventional and unconventional, sometimes open and at other times shadowy. Cold Warriors served all kinds of roles, from the most mundane headquarters jobs to the front lines that were hard drawn on maps and with fences and walls. Cold Warriors were found in NORAD bunkers and Minuteman silos, just a couple of turn keys away from launching nation-destroying ICBMs. Cold Warriors flew over Soviet airspace, tracking Soviet submarines and detecting enemy radar and signals along the coast of North Korea and the USSR. Cold Warriors were deployed to some god awful places that were chillingly cold, or hot and damp, often lonely and isolated, and in places which many had never knew existed. And sometimes, though you may not always have known about these incidents, the Cold War turned very hot with deaths and injuries like any other battlefield. In fact, there are many Cold Warriors who continue to be missing in action….
I want to give a salute of sincere appreciation to all our Cold Warriors because you boldly stared in the face of our enemies and dared them not to do anything to harm Americans at home and around the world. It may have been boring, it may have been tedious, but you still surrendered a part of your life in the service of maintaining Peace. That duty was imperative. You are victors and we get to see your victory every day in the eyes of our children and grandchildren. Always remember the truism… “They, too, serve, who stand watch over a nation at peace.”
-Dave Chevalier, NFFE Veterans Committee Chair