Membership: Join / Renew

Cold War Victory Day Speech by United States Congressman Dennis Moore


The following was entered into the Official Record of the U.S. Congress by CWVA Member – Congressman Dennis Moore – on May 1, 2003.


[Mr. MOORE:] Mr. Speaker, the Governors of Kansas and Wisconsin have proclaimed May 1 as their annual day of observance for commemorating our victory in the Cold War.

In a very real sense, the victory of the western allies was also a victory for the oppressed peoples of the Soviet bloc, and liberation for the Russian people, who are now friends and allies of the United States. May 1 was the traditional day of celebration for Communists worldwide, and displays of military might. It is fitting that May 1 now become a day of celebration of liberty for free peoples everywhere, and for remembrance of the sacrifices that made the downfall of Communism a reality.

These state proclamations were in response to efforts by the Cold War Veterans Association, which has its headquarters in the State of Kansas, and of which I am proud to be a member.

The Cold War was a long struggle, less dramatic than traditional wars, which ended with battles for cities, dropping of bombs, and formal surrenders. The Cold War ended over a period of several years, but as both President George W. Bush and Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said, "It was a war, and we won." The resolute opposition to the Communist Empire took many forms, and cost many lives of American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. It will be years before the casualty count is complete, but it is real, whether the losses were at sea, over Soviet or east European airspace, in shoot-downs over international waters, or along the Korean demilitarized zone (DMZ).

May 1 is the anniversary of the shoot-down of Francis Gary Powers' U-2 in 1960, and the beginning of his captivity in the U.S.S.R. The month of May saw other losses, and some small but shining victories.

May was the month in 1949 that the Soviets ended their blockade of West Berlin, after the U.S. Air Force and the British Royal Air Force supplied the besieged city with food and fuel for almost a year, costing the lives of 68 Allied servicemen and 9 Germans. Attacks on U.S. aircraft in the month of May included one in 1955, in which 2 Chinese Communist soldiers were shot down over international waters, an attack on U.S. reconnaissance aircraft over the U.S.S.R. (1954), and over international waters near the Kamchatka Peninsula (1953), shoot-downs over East Germany (1953, 1960, 1964), and by North Koreans (1963, 1974). U.S. military officers assassinated in May included 2 in Iran (1975) and one in El Salvador (1983). An attack in May 1967 by North Koreans on a U.S. Army barracks left 2 Americans dead and 17 wounded. Two separate terrorist attacks in May 1972 by the Red Army Faction in West Germany left 4 U.S. soldiers dead and 18 wounded. A terrorist attack in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in May 1982 killed one crewman and wounded 3 others from the U.S.S. Pensacola (LSD-38). Casualties at sea in May included the entire crew of 99 aboard the U.S. nuclear submarine Scorpion, which was lost at sea in 1968. May 1954 saw the U.S.S. Bennington (CV-20) damaged by an explosion and fire in the Atlantic, killing 103 and injuring 201. In May of 1981, an EA6B Prowler crashed during landing aboard the carrier U.S.S. Nimitz (CVA-68) in the Atlantic, with 14 killed and 48 injured. In May 1987, 37 sailors aboard the U.S.S. Stark were killed and 21 wounded by an Iraqi Exocet missile. In May 1975, after our involvement in Vietnam and Cambodia had ended, our troops had to rescue the U.S.S. Mayaguez and its crew from the Khmer Rouge, again at a cost of lives of our sailors and marines. And the list goes on.

During the Cold War, over 40 U.S. aircraft were shot down, and others were lost during operational missions. Shooting incidents on the ground, along the Iron Curtain in Europe and the Bamboo Curtain in Asia often made the morning reports, but seldom the morning papers. Our atomic veterans participated in a large number of nuclear weapons tests; many of them exposed to ionizing radiation, with tragic consequences in later life.

There were many successful missions. Many long nights of faithful and vigilant service, on the frontiers of freedom, on polar ice, submerged, flying airborne alerts and reconnaissance. Staying combat-ready in the Fulda Gap of Germany. Keeping watch on the Korean DMZ. Standing watch in stormy seas. Maintaining the defenses of the continental United States. Constantly improving the combat capability of the United States through research and development.

So on May 1, I salute the brave men and women of our Armed Forces who served in the Cold War, and especially those who paid the ultimate price. We refuse to allow their bravery to go unheralded in the name of "political correctness." We also salute the freedom fighters who stood up to tyranny on the streets of Poland (1956, 1981), East Germany (1953), Czechoslovakia (1968), Hungary (1956), Romania (1989), and Afghanistan (1979-88). Their victory and ours are commemorated on each May 1 from this year forward.

I now ask our National Government and other state governors to proclaim this day of observance, with appropriate ceremonies and recognition. I also ask President Bush to create the Cold War Victory Medal by executive order, for award to all who served in the Armed Forces and civilian intelligence agencies during this period. We owe them nothing less.