2017 Senate Joint Resolution 58
Relating to: recognizing July 16, 2017, as National Atomic Veterans Day in Wisconsin.
Whereas, the United States conducted the nuclear Trinity test, the first detonation of an atomic weapon that took place at Alamogordo Air Force Base in New Mexico on July 16, 1945, as part of the Manhattan Project, which led to atomic bombs being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki less than one month later; and
Whereas, soon after World War II ended, the United States ramped up its nuclear testing program, including a wide range of experiments and exposures to various subjects, by conducting at least 235 atmospheric and undersea nuclear weapons tests in the Pacific Ocean and in the southwestern states; and
Whereas, approximately 250,000 veterans of the United States were directly affected by nuclear weapons technology testing while serving from 1945 to 1963, as were those who served in Hiroshima or Nagasaki during the period of the occupation of Japan by the United States immediately following World War II; and
Whereas, from 1977 to 1980, an additional 8,033 U.S. veterans and civilian contractors participated in the Enewetak Atoll Atomic Cleanup Mission, which disposed of radiation-tainted debris, in the Marshall Islands; and
Whereas, the health of many individuals—both military and civilian— who had worked in connection with the nuclear testing program and many of the children of those individuals may have been adversely affected by exposure to ionizing radiation; and
Whereas, the National Association of Atomic Veterans was formed in August 1979 to help atomic veterans obtain medical care and assistance related to health issues that may have been precipitated by their exposure to ionizing radiation while participating in a nuclear weapon test detonation, a post-test event, or post-test cleanup; and
Whereas, in accordance with Public Law 98-54, July 16, 1983, was designated as National Atomic Veterans Day, a day “dedicated to those patriotic Americans who through their participation in these tests helped lead the United States to the forefront of technology in defense of our great Nation and the freedoms we as Americans hold so dear''; and
Whereas, in 1996, the United States Congress repealed the Nuclear Radiation and Secrecy Agreements Act, freeing atomic veterans to describe their military involvement in nuclear testing and to file for veterans benefits for conditions they may have developed as a result of radiation exposure; and
Whereas, the State of Wisconsin recognizes the patriotism and sacrifice of the thousands of members of the United States Armed Forces, including Wisconsinites, in defense of the nation; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the senate, the assembly concurring, That the legislature hereby proclaims July 16, 2017, as National Atomic Veterans Day in Wisconsin.