(TRENTON) – Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats John J. Burzichelli, Wayne P. DeAngelo and Patrick J. Diegnan Jr. that would establish a state medal to honor veterans who served during the Cold War received approval from an Assembly panel on Thursday.
The bill (A-1899) would permit the governor to present the medal to any New Jersey resident honorably discharged from the military after completion of at least 180 days of service during the Cold War.
“American Cold War veterans deserve special recognition for serving their country and protecting American freedoms,” Burzichelli (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem). “These individuals are some of the most unsung men and women in our history.”
“The danger communist forces posed to the globe during the Cold War was very real, and the men and women who fought against it are American heroes,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “They deserve the recognition this legislation bestows upon them.”
“All members of our military have served to defend this nation and promote liberty and justice. Those who served during the Cold War are no exception,” said Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “This legislation is a tribute to their fight for those values.”
To be eligible for the medal, Cold War veterans may not be otherwise qualified to receive any medal based on wartime service occurring between September 2, 1945 and December 26, 1991. Eligibility would be pending approval by the Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs. Representatives of veterans who are deceased or were declared missing in action may accept the medal on their behalf.
The measure would also establish the “Cold War Medal Fund” in the Department of the Treasury, which would accept donations to cover the cost of the design, manufacture and distribution of the medal.
The bill was released by the Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee.