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Oregon Atomic Veteran's Day Celebration July 16th in Albany OregonSalem-News.com
July 16th also marks the first anniversary of a legislatively approved date to honor Oregon's Atomic Veterans--military members who participated in atmospheric nuclear weapons tests in the United States, the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans during and after World War II.
(ALBANY) - Members of Oregon’s Atomic Veterans organization will be hosting a ceremony and celebration in Albany, Sunday, July 16th, to remember Atomic Veterans Day. All military Veterans and their families are invited to attend the celebration being held at the Linn County Fairgrounds and Expo Center, between 12:00 PM and 4:00 PM.
Guest speakers during a ceremony that begins at 1:00 PM will include State Senator Ted Ferrioli, State Representatives Donna Nelson and Jeff Kropf, and Jim Willis, the Director of the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
July 16th also marks the first anniversary of a legislatively approved date to honor Oregon’s Atomic Veterans--military members who participated in atmospheric nuclear weapons tests in the United States, the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans during and after World War II. In 2005, Oregon’s Legislature passed House Concurrent Resolution 9, sponsored by Ferrioli, that designates July 16th of every year as Atomic Veterans Day in the state.
The testing of the first atomic bomb on July 16th, 1945 in Alamogordo, N.M. later prompted President Ronald Reagan, in 1983, to declare July 16th as National Atomic Veterans Day.
“Oregon’s first anniversary celebration will bring more recognition to some forgotten veterans,” said Oregon Atomic Veteran and group organizer, Fred Schafer. “Several veterans have called me who didn’t know about our organization or weren’t aware that they could now talk about what they’d experienced when they were exposed to radiation while serving in the military. The more people who hear about us, the more we can reach out and help these veterans and their families.”
In 1996, atomic veterans were released from their military oaths of secrecy. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) then formally recognized atomic veterans. They were then eligible to receive VA medical treatment. The VHA reports that between 1945 and 1962, approximately 195,000 U. S. service members participated in the post-World War II occupation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan following the atomic bombings there.
Approximately 210,000, mostly military members, are confirmed participants in atmospheric nuclear weapons tests prior to the 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty. Others were nuclear technicians responsible for the operation and maintenance of nuclear power plants on aircraft carriers or submarines. Additional veterans were exposed to depleted uranium munitions during and after the Gulf War.
The Linn County Fairgrounds and Expo Center in Albany, is located off of Interstate 5 at exit 234A. For more information call Fred Schafer at 541-258-7453 or Frank Farmer at 541-259-1559.
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