National Atomic Veterans’ Day is observed on July 16. On July 15, 2021, The President proclaimed July 16, 2021, as National Atomic Veterans’ Day and called upon all Americans to observe the day with appropriate ceremonies and activities that honor the atomic veterans. President Biden signed legislation into law to recognize atomic veterans as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022. The legislation also requires the President to issue a proclamation every year, calling on the United States to observe National Atomic Veterans’ Day.
History of National Atomic Veterans Day
On July 15, 1983, President Ronald Reagan designated July 16, 1983, as National Atomic Veterans’ Day, declaring it “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.” However, the designation by the President was only for July 16, 1983, not each succeeding year. Later, the Virginia House of Delegates, with the Senate concurring at the time designated July 16, in 2015, and each successive year, as National Atomic Veterans’ Day in Virginia.
On July 16, 1945, the world’s first detonation of a nuclear weapon, better known by its code name Trinity, was conducted by the United States Army in the Jornada del Muerto desert, New Mexico. Between 1945 and 1962, atomic veterans witnessed and participated in around 235 nuclear weapon tests, served in or around Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or were held prisoners of war in or around Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Due to radiation exposure, many atomic veterans developed serious health conditions. Sworn to secrecy, they could not seek medical care or disability compensation from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
In 1966, the United States Congress repealed the Nuclear Radiation and Secrecy Agreements Act, allowing atomic veterans to open up about their experiences and file for V.A. benefits. Atomic veterans can get free medical care and compensation in the form of disability allowance, including potential payments to a surviving spouse or children. In 1979, the National Association of Atomic Veterans was formed to help atomic veterans get medical care and assistance. In 2021, U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger’s legislation was signed into law by President Joe Biden, recognizing atomic veterans as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022.
National Atomic Veterans Day timeline
The world’s first detonation of a nuclear weapon is conducted.
The United States Congress repeals the Nuclear Radiation and Secrecy Agreements Act, allowing atomic veterans to disclose their experiences and file for V.A. benefits.
On July 15, President Ronald Reagan designates July 16, 1983, as National Atomic Veterans’ Day.
President Joe Biden proclaims July 16, 2021, as National Atomic Veterans’ Day.
National Atomic Veterans Day FAQs
How many atomic veterans are there?
There are approximately 195,000 atomic veterans across the United States.
What is the Atomic Veterans Memorial?
Atomic Veterans Memorial is a monument by the National Association of Atomic Veterans, “dedicated to our atomic veterans who participated in atmospheric or underwater nuclear tests as part of the United States nuclear weapons testing program or in the occupation of Hiroshima or Nagasaki, Japan, 1945.”
Where did the US get uranium for the atomic bomb?
Most of the uranium used in World War II was from Congolese mines, and the ‘Little Boy’ dropped on Hiroshima used Congolese uranium.
How to Observe National Atomic Veterans Day
To show thanks to atomic veterans for their sacrifice, you can spend some time writing letters or creating cards. By doing so, at least they will know that they are appreciated.
The National Association of Atomic Veterans is a non-profit organization. You can contact them for information, and you may want to make a donation or volunteer.
Reach out to veterans
If you know veterans, it’s the best time to reach out to them. Remember to thank them for their service to the country. You may want to hear about their experiences during the nuclear tests and the atomic bombings. You can also personally offer some help in case they need it.
5 Facts About The Atomic Bombings Of Hiroshima And Nagasaki
Nagasaki was not even on the list
The initial hit list included Kokura, Hiroshima, Yokohama, Niigata, and Kyoto, but Kyoto was spared because Henry Stimson considered its cultural importance, so Nagasaki became the replacement.
The bombings caused many deaths
The atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki led to the deaths of between 129,000 and 226,000 people, mostly civilians.
A man survived both atomic bombings
Tsutomu Yamaguchi is the man who survived both atomic bombings.
Oleander is Hiroshima's official flower
Oleander is the official flower of the city of Hiroshima because it was the first flower to blossom after the bombings.
Peace flame will remain lit
The Flame of Peace monument has burned continuously since it was lit in 1964 and will remain lit until all atomic bombs on the planet are destroyed and the threat of nuclear destruction is gone from the planet.
Why National Atomic Veterans Day is Important
It is a reminder to thank veterans
Veterans sacrificed their lives for the sake of their country. That’s why it is important to show them appreciation, whether by reaching out to them to thank and help them personally or by just writing them letters of appreciation.
It is a moment to learn more about history
When it’s a holiday, you must be somewhat wondering what it’s all about. National Atomic Veterans’ Day is one of those holidays with a fascinating history you may want to learn about more.
It is a chance to make contributions
It is not the kind of holiday to have fun. It is a day for you to make contributions. We believe any kind of help will mean a lot to the atomic veterans, especially on this memorable day.
National Atomic Veterans Day dates