(TRENTON)- Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats John J. Burzichelli, Wayne P. DeAngelo, Patrick J. Diegnan and Peter J. Barnes III to create a New Jersey Cold War medal passed the Assembly on Monday.
The sponsors note the Cold War as a long and costly struggle between the forces of freedom and democracy led by the United States and the forces of communism led by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The Cold War started after World War II and ended with the collapse of the government of the Soviet Union in December of 1991. Tens of thousands of soldiers, sailors, marines and air force personnel served during this period of crisis and struggle. Some paid with their lives to protect the freedom and democracy we have today.
“American Cold War Veterans deserve special recognition for serving their country and protecting American freedoms,” Burzichelli (D-Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem). “These individuals are some of the most unsung men and women in our history.”
“Ensuring Cold War Veterans proper recognition for their dedication and service to this country is important to New Jersey,” DeAngelo (D-Mercer, Middlesex). “Members of our military, past and present, deserve recognition for the selfless sacrifices made to protect the American way of life.”
“It is time for New Jersey to honor Cold War Veterans’ valor and sacrifice,” said Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “With this medal, we can begin to say thank you to those men and women for their service.”
“Soldiers in the Cold War took part in one of the most defining moments in world history,” said Barnes. “This special recognition would help us salute their service which helped to pave the way for freedom and democracy in the Soviet Union.”
The bill (A-3828) would create a Cold War Medal to be presented by the Governor to a veteran who is a resident of the State, or who was a resident on the date of commencement of service, in recognition of his or her honorable service during the Cold War between the dates of September 2, 1945 and December 26, 1991, inclusive. The state currently awards five other medals: Distinguished Service Medal; Meritorious Service Medal; Korean Service Medal; Vietnam Service Medal; and POW-MIA Service Medal.
The measure passed 76-1. It was approved by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.