HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 140
(By Delegates R. Phillips, Caputo, Hartman, Tomblin, Eldridge, Lynch, Craig, Iaquinta, Stowers, White, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Thompson, Andes, Armstead, Barill, Barrett, Boggs, Campbell, Canterbury, Diserio, Ferns, Ferro, Fleischauer, Gearheart, Hamilton, Jones, Lawrence, Longstreth, Marcum, Marshall, Morgan, Moye, E. Nelson, O'Neal, Paxton, Perry, Pethtel, L. Phillips, D. Poling, M. Poling, Reynolds, Shott, Skaff, Skinner, P. Smith, Sobonya, Sponaugle, Staggers, Stephens, Storch, Swartzmiller, Walker, Westfall, Williams and Young)
Recognizing July 16 as “Atomic Veterans Day of Remembrance” in West Virginia.
Whereas, On July 16, 1945, the world's first atomic bomb, code-named "Trinity," was detonated in Alamogordo, New Mexico, and from that date until June 12, 1963, there were 1,054 nuclear devices detonated in tests considered vital to our national security, and approximately 750,000 U.S. military and civilian personnel participated in these experimental endeavors; and
Whereas, Many of the nation's veterans, including residents of West Virginia, were subjected to varying amounts of radiation because of this testing of atomic weapons; and
Whereas, The potential harm to these veterans was unknown at the time of the testing, resulting in the exposure of many veterans to harmful doses of radiation and causing them to suffer debilitating, degenerative diseases that affect the veterans and their descendants; and
Whereas, Veterans who were early test subjects were required to sign an oath of secrecy regarding their involvement in the atomic testing, preventing these veterans from informing the Veterans Health Administration of their medical problems that resulted from radiation until 1996, when these veterans were released from their oaths of secrecy; and
Whereas, In 1979, the National Association of Atomic Veterans was created to locate these veterans, to honor the sacrifices they made and to help these veterans and their families in obtaining medical treatment and assistance; and
Whereas, By engaging in a national research and education effort for atomic war veterans, the National Association of Atomic Veterans is promoting early detection of medical problems and research and documentation of the connection between radiation exposure and resultant cancer and other debilitating, degenerative diseases and genetic mutations; and
Whereas, In the time since these detonations, roughly fifty percent of the men and women who participated in the testing have experienced the harmful effects of exposure to ionizing radiation, yet these veterans who were injured in the line of duty received no medals because they were not in combat; and
Whereas, The number of members in this group is rapidly decreasing because of the age of these veterans, and thus it is important to recognize these individuals who sacrificed so much in serving our country and who are deserving of our immense gratitude; therefore, be it
Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Legislature hereby recognizes July 16 as "Atomic Veterans Day of Remembrance" in West Virginia and encourages the Governor, the Department of Veterans Assistance and all West Virginians to take part in this significant observance; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates forward a certified copy of this resolution to Haskell Watts Jr., West Virginia State Commander of the National Association of Atomic Veterans, the Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance and the Governor of West Virginia.