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Monthly Archives: July 2008

VA Announces New Nursing Academy Sites
Department Strengthens Partnerships with Seven Nursing Schools

WASHINGTON (July 31, 2008) — To provide compassionate, highly-trained
nurses to serve the health care needs of the nation’s veterans, the
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is establishing new partnerships
with seven of the country’s finest nursing schools. The partnerships
will bring to 10 the number of collaborations between the Department and
nursing schools under the VA Nursing Academy.

“The expanded role of VA in the education of nurses will ensure the
Department has the nurses needed to continue our world-class health care
for veterans,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake.
“The VA Nursing Academy expands our teaching faculty, improves
recruitment and retention, and creates new educational and research
opportunities.”

The VA Nursing Academy is a virtual organization with central
administration in Washington. It expands learning opportunities for
nursing students at VA facilities, funds additional faculty positions so
competitively selected nursing school partners will accept additional
baccalaureate-level students, and increases recruitment and retention of
VA nurses. The five-year, $40 million program began in 2007.

Seven nursing schools will form new partnerships with nine VA medical
centers and join the VA Nursing Academy this year. They are:

VA Facility School of Nursing
Charleston, S.C. Medical University of South
Carolina

Hines, Ill. Loyola University of
Chicago

Michigan Consortia University of Detroit
(Detroit, Saginaw, Mercy, and
Battle Creek, Ann Arbor) Saginaw Valley State
University

Oklahoma City, Okla. University of Oklahoma
Health Sciences Center

Providence, R.I. Rhode Island College

Tampa, Fla. University of South Florida

Partnerships already in the VA Nursing Academy include the VA medical
center in Gainesville, Fla., with the University of Florida; the VA
medical center in San Diego with San Diego State University; the VA
medical center in Salt Lake City with the University of Utah; and the VA
medical center in West Haven, Conn., with Fairfield University in
Connecticut.

VA expects to add several more nursing-school partnerships.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has reported that in
2006 more than 38,000 qualified applicants were turned away from
entry-level baccalaureate degree programs in nursing schools because of
insufficient numbers of faculty, clinical sites, classroom space and
clinical mentors. VA currently provides clinical education for
approximately 100,000 health professional trainees annually, including
students from more than 600 schools of nursing.

VA’s “Enhancing Academic Partnerships” pilot program enables
competitively selected VA-nursing school partnerships to expand the
number of nursing faculty, enhance the professional and scholarly
development of nurses, increase student enrollment by about 1,000
students and promote innovations in nursing education.

Further information about the pilot program can be obtained from VA’s
Office of Academic Affiliations web site at www.va.gov/oaa.

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Contact: Curt Harding, Thomas Nelson, 615-902-2246

MEDIA ADVISORY, July 29 /Christian Newswire/ — Fifty years ago, with the U.S. having been beaten into space by the Soviet Union and questions raised about our nation’s ability to prevail in the Cold War, America scored a major triumph under the seas, as the world’s first nuclear powered submarine, the USS Nautilus, traveled beneath the North Pole towards Russian waters.

The details behind this daring and historic mission have at last been declassified and are told in an important new book, The Ice Diaries: The Untold Story of the Cold War’s Most Daring Mission ( Thomas Nelson, July, 29, 2008).

The book was written by Captain William R. Anderson, who commanded the fabled sub, and best-selling author Don Keith. Captain Anderson, later a U.S. Congressman, completed the telling of the dramatic story before he passed away in February 2007.

The idea of navigating below the North Pole was made possible by the longer missions available with nuclear power. But the ability to travel farther without resurfacing did not necessarily equate to smooth sailing. Anderson and Keith tell the stories of encounters with terrible storms, fires in the hold, collisions with ice, broken compasses and more. All of this plays against the backdrop of an Eisenhower Administration faced with mounting questions of America’s ability to compete technologically with the Soviets.

The USS Nautilus was a magical name in 1958; its journey, one of the shining moments of International Geophysical Year. At the completion of its mission, Capt. Anderson and his crew were celebrated in a ticker tape parade down the Canyon of Heroes in lower Manhattan. A 1959 best-seller, Nautilus 90 North, written by Anderson with Clay Blair, met the public’s immediate demand for the tale of the mission. But all of it can only be told now with the declassification of the secret files, and the fresh first person narration by Capt. Anderson himself.

The USS Nautilus is today a public museum, visited by more than 250,000 annually near the United States Naval Submarine Base New London, at Groton’s Submarine Force Library and Museum in Groton, Connecticut, where it was originally constructed.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS
William Anderson graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1942 and served in the U.S. Navy until 1962. He participated in 11 submarine combat patrols in the Pacific and was awarded the Bronze Star and other combat awards. Anderson was the commanding officer of the USS Nautilus from 1957 to 1959. He also served as assistant to Vice Admiral H.G. Rickover; was a consultant to President Kennedy for the National Service Corps, 1963, and was elected to Congress from Tennessee, 1965-73. He passed away in 2007.

Don Keith is a 25-year broadcast veteran – a career that includes a number of awards as a journalist and media personality. He has published 15 books, including the national bestseller, Final Bearing.

Cold War Veterans Seek Recognition

Newsvine Article Please Vote and Comment here

America’s longest war, even though it was undeclared, was the Cold War. It was a struggle between the United States and our allies against Russia and the Communist Bloc. It lasted from Sept. 1945 to Dec. 1991.

Some of you might remember air raid drills, duck and cover, backyard fallout shelters; and the constant threat offull nuclear war. As both sides continued to amass a large stockpile of nuclear weapons, each trying to be bigger and better than the other.

Time has a way of blunting memory, letting places and events fade into the dark forgotten part of history. Our Veterans Service Organization, The American Cold War Veterans, Inc. does not want that to happen.

We are dedicated to finding information about the Cold War, making the public aware of how and why it was fought.Our military forces were around the world, the Fulda Gap, the Congo, Cuban Blockade, Korea, Vietnam and other hot spots.24/7/365 armed and ready at all times.
On the ground, aboard ships at sea, and submarines under the surface, SAC airplanes flying to the point of no return, in missile silos, never knowing is this a drill or the real thing. The stress and hardship of possibly being theone to push the button in retaliation, knowing you could be destroying millions and bringing about “Nuclear Winter”was always on our minds.

Some people think of it as “peace time”, or say “you were not shot at”. Well, our ground forces were shot at, ourplanes were shot from the sky by Communists over Korea, China and other places while on patrols so secretthat the truth was not told for many years. Many of the families did not know, it was reported as “training accident”,or “equipment malfunction”. We did not want the enemy to know, what we were doing.

Even today, some of these veterans can not discuss where they were or what they were doing. Sworn to secrecyfor life. Just some of the hidden facts of the Cold War that the public never knew.

These brave and dedicated servicemen and women served their tours of duty, and never received an awardor medal of any kind. You had to be in the right spot and at the right time to be eligible. Many missed the cut-off dates by a few days, or the designated area by a few miles.
The American Cold War Veterans are attempting to right this wrong. To bring honor and recognition whereit is due.

For the last ten years we have been petitioning Congress to authorize and direct the Department of Defense toissue a “Cold War Victory (or Service) medal. Several times a provision for the medal was written into theNational Defense Authorization Act, but that was removed during Senate/House committee meetings.

This year marks the sixtieth anniversary of the Berlin Airlift, and the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.What would be a better and more significant time to recognize all those veterans who served honorably during the Cold War.

At the present time there is a bill in the Senate Armed Services Committee, S.1097 The Cold War Medal Act 2007.We ask that each of you contact both of your Senators, ask them to be a cosponsor for S.1097. This will be a wonderful way to honor our veterans. It would be especially special for the family’s of those who gave their all,and sacrificed their lives to protect our freedom.

Senator McCain, Senator Obama, would you be willing to extend our country’s thanks and gratitude? Wouldyou as President issue a medal by Executive Order?
Visit our website http://www.americancoldwarvets.org
“We Remember” do you?

Please vote on this article and comment here

Jerald Terwilliger

National Vice President

American Cold War Veterans

Wrongly convicted soldier dies after Army apology

After waiting 64 years for the Army to clear his name for a wrongful conviction in World War II, Samuel Snow died just hours after receiving his official apology Saturday in Seattle.

Snow was one of 28 innocent African-American soldiers who were sentenced in the largest court-martial of the war for a crime they did not commit at Seattle’s Fort Lawton in 1944.

Their names were recently cleared after a new investigation determined that court-martial proceeding was grossly flawed and that the prosecutor had withheld critical evidence.

Snow was one of only two of the 28 who were still alive to hear the formal apology issued at a ceremony Saturday at Seattle’s Discovery Park.

He had planned to attend the ceremony, and traveled to Seattle from his home in Leesburg, Fla., to be there with his family. But just before the ceremony, he was admitted to the hospital for treatment of an irregular heartbeat.

Although he had been expected to recover, he died at 12:43 a.m. Sunday. He was 83.

Samuel Snow’s son Ray had represented his father at the ceremony Saturday when his father was unable to attend.

U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Seattle, said that Saturday night at the hospital before he died, Ray Snow showed his father the honorable discharge plaque and read it to him.

Samuel Snow’s reaction was that he smiled broadly and was very pleased that his name had finally been cleared and justice done.

His son was at his side when Samuel Snow died. No official cause of death has been announced as yet.

The Army overturned the convictions of all 28 of the black soldiers who were court-martialed, which followed an August 1944 riot and lynching of an Italian prisoner of war at Fort Lawton.

The court-martial proceeding “was not fair or just,” Assistant Army Secretary Ronald James said at Saturday’s ceremony.

The prosecutor in charge of the 1944 proceeding assigned only two defense attorneys to represent all 28 of the soldiers, then gave them only a few days to prepare a defense and withheld critical evidence from them, the Army investigation determined.

“The Army is genuinely sorry. I’m sorry that your father, grandfather and loved ones lost years of their freedom,” James said.

The Army brought as many family members as they could find to the ceremony.

“You know, there’s nothing with forgiveness,” Ray Snow says. “And that’s where my dad stands. He stands in forgiveness. And he holds no animosity.

It’s time for the American public to know about the prisoner of war/missing in action issue.

For years the National Alliance of Families of POWs/MIAs, Rolling Thunder Inc. and many other veteran organizations have been pressing our federal government for full disclosure about our POW/MIAs – not just those in Iraq but those from the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm, the Cold War/Korea Conflict and even World War II.

As late as 1979, U.S. officials became convinced that there still were live POWs in Southeast Asia. In his book “An Enormous Crime” published in 2007, former Rep. Bill Hendon, R-N.C., chronicled the fact that when the U.S. withdrew from Vietnam, it knowingly left behind hundreds of POWs. Hendon used thousands of pages of public and previously classified documents to make his case.

There is enough evidence to warrant further investigation. Almost 18 months ago, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., introduced House Resolution 111 to establish a House select committee on POW/MIA affairs. The committee would “conduct a full investigation of all unresolved matters relating to any United States personnel unaccounted for from the Vietnam era, the Korean conflict, World War II, Cold War missions, or Gulf War, including MIAs and POWs.”

In June 2007 the resolution had more than 60 co-sponsors. Rolling Thunder decided to aggressively pursue the remaining co-sponsors needed to move the resolution out of the House Rules Committee and onto the floor for debate and a vote. By last month we had 279 co-sponsors representing more than 60 percent of the House membership who, in turn, represent more than 200 million Americans. Almost 50 percent of the 50 states have 100 percent co-sponsorship. Yet the measure is stalled in the Rules Committee. Why? Because of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s reluctance to allow any additional select committees.

We would like to know, along with the American public, for whom does Pelosi work? We believe it’s the American people and all veterans who serve this country.

Despite her public rhetoric about restoring accountability to the Congress, Pelosi has ignored the obvious will of more than 60 percent of her peers in Congress. It is unheard of for a measure to have this many co-sponsors and be stuck in the Rules Committee.

If this resolution is not enacted within two years after its initiation, which would be March 14, 2009, it will die. So, please, I ask you, the American people who vote, to stand up and voice your concerns to Congress about this issue.

Our POW/MIAs and the families left behind deserve nothing less.

Ron Havens

Russia said it has no plan to send nuclear-armed bombers to Cuba

Moscow denied reports that it was considering basing nuclear-armed bombers in Cuba in reply to US plans for a missile defense shield in eastern Europe, but said it would take measures to counter the US system.

Moscow denied reports that it was considering basing nuclear-armed bombers in Cuba in reply to US plans for a missile defense shield in eastern Europe, but said it would take measures to counter the US system.

Russia’s defense ministry on Thursday, July 24, denied reports that it was considering basing nuclear-armed bombers in Cuba to warn against US plans to base a missile defense shield in Europe, Russian news agencies reported.

“We regard these kinds of anonymous allegations as disinformation,” defense ministry spokesman Ilshat Baichurin was quoted by RIA-Novosti as saying.

The report in state newspaper Izvestia on Monday cited an unidentified high-ranking air force official as saying such bombers were sent to Cuba to counter US shield plans.

The United States had refused to comment on the anonymous report but welcomed Moscow’s denial of the intentions to resume bomber flights to Cuba.

“That’s a very good thing,” said Gonzalo Gallegos, the State Department’s acting deputy spokesman.

Baichurin, however, suggested the allegations could have been planted by foreign countries as a cover for building up military elements along Russia’s border in an apparent reference to US plans. Moscow, he said, has no intentions to threaten other states.

“Russia pursues peace-loving policies and does not build military bases along the borders of other states,” RIA Novosti quoted Baichurin as saying.

Other measures being considered

A three-stage booster built by Lockheed Martin Corp. is launched at Vandenberg Air Force Base Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: US plans to build a missile defense shield in eastern Europe have raised Russia ire

Another Russian military expert, however, said the country could take other steps to counteract what it sees as a strategic threat from the United States.

“Russia’s military responses to the deployment of a US missile defense system in Europe may include improving the Russian strategic Topol-M missiles with hypersonic maneuvering warheads and a large number of jamming stations that would reduce the effectiveness of missile defense elements tenfold,” Viktor Yesin, a former chief of general staff of the Russian Strategic Missile Troops, said on Thursday.

Yesin said the Russian military was considering a full range of measures to respond adequately to the perceived threat from the US system.

The United States has failed to convince Russia that plans to site parts of a missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic are intended only to guard against rogue states such as Iran. Russia views the shield as a threat to its Cold War nuclear deterrent.

Russian steps could include reactivating Soviet military plans to place ballistic missiles in orbit from where they would be able to bypass the planned US shield via the South Pole.

“Russia can already now carry out such technical measures and is partially doing so,” Yesin was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying.

He listed among other possible military counter measures the deployment of a missile system in Russia’s European enclave of Kaliningrad and readying long-range Tu-22 M3 bombers for missions.

Yesin also suggested that Russia was considering pulling out of the Russian-American Strategic Offensive Reduction Treaty, which commits both countries to reduce nuclear warheads by nearly two-thirds by 2012.

In December, Russia withdrew from key Cold War-era arms restraint treaty in what analysts say was partly military anger at US missile defense plans. But Yesin advised restraint Thursday, saying it was not a time to scare European allies.

DPA news agency (sms)

Obama Gives a Response Regarding the Cold War Medal Act S.1097

Dear Stan:

Thank you for taking the time to share your support for the authorization of a Cold War Victory Medal for veterans of the military during the Cold War period. I appreciate hearing from you and apologize for the delay in my response.

As you may know, in April of last year Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the Cold War Medal Act of 2007 (S. 1097). This legislation would have mandated that the Department of Defense issue a medal to all veterans who served honorably during the Cold War period of our history, approximately between 1945 and 1991. A provision similar to S. 1097 was included in the House version of the fiscal year 2008 Defense Authorization bill. Unfortunately, the Senate sponsors of this legislation were unable to maintain this provision during the Senate consideration of the Defense Authorization bill. As a result, this proposal was not included in the final version of the bill signed by the President.

You may be interested to know that the Senate is expected to take up consideration of the fiscal year 2009 Defense Authorization sometime in July. While the contents of the bill are still unclear, please be assured I will keep your comments in mind should this issue be considered by the full Senate.

Finally, I would like to apologize for the delay in my response. Each week I receive on average 10,000 pieces of correspondence from inviduals like yourself from across Illinois. While I value the insight and opinions of each person I do not always get a chance to respond as quickly as I would like. That being said, please feel free to keep in touch on any matter of importance to you.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama
United States Senator

DURHAM, NC — Researchers from Duke University, the University of Cincinnati ( UC ) and the Durham Veterans Administration Medical Center are hoping to find a geographical pattern to help explain why 1991 Gulf War veterans contracted the fatal neurological disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis ( ALS ) at twice the normal rate during the decade after the conflict.

By layering military records of troop locations onto Gulf-area maps, “we’ve found there were some areas of service where there appears to be an elevated risk,” said Marie Lynn Miranda, an associate professor at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment whose group uses geographic information systems ( GIS ) to study environmental health problems.

Also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease because it crippled and ultimately killed that baseball great in 1941, ALS causes cellular degeneration in the central nervous system. Its cause is unknown.

“There are no reports on the occurrence of ALS among veterans of other conflicts,” the researchers wrote. “There is only a single report that suggests ALS may arise from environmental exposures associated with military service, per se.” The cases assessed by Miranda and her colleagues occurred within a group of people who are expected to be at low risk for ALS, because they’re mostly under the age of 45.

Miranda is the first author of a report on an initial analysis now published online in the research journal NeuroToxicology. The work was funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs Cooperative Studies Program.

The report’s senior author is Ronnie Horner, professor and director of the department of public health at Cincinnati, who led research that first documented twice-normal ALS rates among vets of the first Persian Gulf War in an article published in the September 2003 issue of the journal Neurology.

Horner’s group is now assessing possible exposures vets might have had in the Gulf region that could explain the higher ALS rates its 2003 study found.

“As one of the largest contemporary set of cases, it presents a real opportunity to identify clues as to the cause of ALS not only for veterans of the first Gulf War but, perhaps, for ALS generally,” Horner said. UC researchers are coordinating their investigations with those of researchers at the Durham, N.C. Veterans Medical Center and nearby Duke Medical Center.

Another UC-led study, published in the July 2008 issue of the journal Neuroepidemiology, found that the risk for developing ALS has now decreased among 1991 Gulf War vets. That suggests that the cause or causes of the ALS had something to do with their deployment in the region between August 1990 and July 1991.

Of the 135 cases diagnosed among the vets within 11 years after the war, only three had a family history of the disease. The small numbers might indicate that there is an environmental cause for ALS, the authors added.

“In the one-year period of military operations, some deployed military personnel experienced numerous exposures to multiple, potentially neurotoxic agents,” Miranda and coauthors wrote in the new report. “If the array of possible candidate environmental exposures could be reduced, it may be possible to identify or at least focus inquiry on specific potential causative agents.”

To narrow down the possibilities, Miranda and fellow investigators used GIS analysis, which allows researchers to layer different kinds of information onto maps to deduce potential risks.

They began by searching Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense records as well as other sources to identify military personnel diagnosed with ALS after 1991. Department of Defense data also allowed the researchers to identify the military units these veterans with ALS served in during their deployment to the Persian Gulf region.

In a separate analysis, the researchers identified troop units known to have been exposed to emissions from a munitions storage area at Khamisiyah, Iraq. Those munitions were destroyed by U.S. forces in March 1991, and a United Nations commission later found many rockets there had been loaded for chemical warfare.

A previous Defense Department modeling study deduced that “some 90,000 veterans may have been exposed to low levels of nerve agent” at Khamisiyah, the new report said.

The GIS mapping revealed that “there were some areas where there appeared to be an elevated risk,” Miranda said. To narrow down the possibilities, she and co-investigators then used statistical methods that assess the “best guess about the likelihood that space matters” for each grid of Gulf territory, she added.

Applying those statistics, the likelihood of a spatial connection with ALS development “climbed as high as 91 percent” in some grid cells, she said, most notably in a region southeast of Khamisiyah. But Miranda cautioned that she will need to do additional analyses that add “time” to “place” before she can be more specific.

For instance, the researchers will want to know whether the ALS victim’s units were in the path of emissions from Khamisiyah on a specific day. Miranda and her colleagues are also interested in examining environmental exposures that may be associated with smoke plumes from oil well fires.

Other authors of the new NeuroToxicology report include Miranda’s Nicholas School colleagues M. Alicia Overstreet Galeano and Eric Tassone as well as Kelli Allen, a research health scientist at the Durham VA Medical Center and a Duke assistant research professor of medicine.

Monte Basgall

T: ( 919 ) 681-8057

Email: monte.basgall@duke.edu

Senator Obama We Did Our Duty Now is The Time to Honor Cold War Veterans

Yet another politician has held up victory in the Cold War with heavy references to the Berlin Airlift and victory. International cooperation, duty, and common security, victory over tyranny were evoked time and again as virtues which helped us prevail in the war against communist expansion.

Senator Obama is it not time to honor the men and women who made that happen. If elected President will you sign a executive order authorizing a Cold War Service or Victory Medal?

Obama Berlin Speech: See Video, Photos, Full Speech Transcript


OBAMA SPEECH TRANSCRIPT:

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama (as prepared for delivery)

“A World that Stands as One”

July 24th, 2008

Berlin, Germany

Thank you to the citizens of Berlin and to the people of Germany. Let me thank Chancellor Merkel and Foreign Minister Steinmeier for welcoming me earlier today. Thank you Mayor Wowereit, the Berlin Senate, the police, and most of all thank you for this welcome.

I come to Berlin as so many of my countrymen have come before. Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen – a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world.

I know that I don’t look like the Americans who’ve previously spoken in this great city. The journey that led me here is improbable. My mother was born in the heartland of America, but my father grew up herding goats in Kenya. His father – my grandfather – was a cook, a domestic servant to the British.

At the height of the Cold War, my father decided, like so many others in the forgotten corners of the world, that his yearning – his dream – required the freedom and opportunity promised by the West. And so he wrote letter after letter to universities all across America until somebody, somewhere answered his prayer for a better life.

That is why I’m here. And you are here because you too know that yearning. This city, of all cities, knows the dream of freedom. And you know that the only reason we stand here tonight is because men and women from both of our nations came together to work, and struggle, and sacrifice for that better life.

Ours is a partnership that truly began sixty years ago this summer, on the day when the first American plane touched down at Templehof.

On that day, much of this continent still lay in ruin. The rubble of this city had yet to be built into a wall. The Soviet shadow had swept across Eastern Europe, while in the West, America, Britain, and France took stock of their losses, and pondered how the world might be remade.

This is where the two sides met. And on the twenty-fourth of June, 1948, the Communists chose to blockade the western part of the city. They cut off food and supplies to more than two million Germans in an effort to extinguish the last flame of freedom in Berlin.

The size of our forces was no match for the much larger Soviet Army. And yet retreat would have allowed Communism to march across Europe. Where the last war had ended, another World War could have easily begun. All that stood in the way was Berlin.

And that’s when the airlift began – when the largest and most unlikely rescue in history brought food and hope to the people of this city.

The odds were stacked against success. In the winter, a heavy fog filled the sky above, and many planes were forced to turn back without dropping off the needed supplies. The streets where we stand were filled with hungry families who had no comfort from the cold.

But in the darkest hours, the people of Berlin kept the flame of hope burning. The people of Berlin refused to give up. And on one fall day, hundreds of thousands of Berliners came here, to the Tiergarten, and heard the city’s mayor implore the world not to give up on freedom. “There is only one possibility,” he said. “For us to stand together united until this battle is won…The people of Berlin have spoken. We have done our duty, and we will keep on doing our duty. People of the world: now do your duty…People of the world, look at Berlin!”

People of the world – look at Berlin!

Look at Berlin, where Germans and Americans learned to work together and trust each other less than three years after facing each other on the field of battle.

Look at Berlin, where the determination of a people met the generosity of the Marshall Plan and created a German miracle; where a victory over tyranny gave rise to NATO, the greatest alliance ever formed to defend our common security.

Look at Berlin, where the bullet holes in the buildings and the somber stones and pillars near the Brandenburg Gate insist that we never forget our common humanity.

People of the world – look at Berlin, where a wall came down, a continent came together, and history proved that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one.

Sixty years after the airlift, we are called upon again. History has led us to a new crossroad, with new promise and new peril. When you, the German people, tore down that wall – a wall that divided East and West; freedom and tyranny; fear and hope – walls came tumbling down around the world. From Kiev to Cape Town, prison camps were closed, and the doors of democracy were opened. Markets opened too, and the spread of information and technology reduced barriers to opportunity and prosperity. While the 20th century taught us that we share a common destiny, the 21st has revealed a world more intertwined than at any time in human history.

The fall of the Berlin Wall brought new hope. But that very closeness has given rise to new dangers – dangers that cannot be contained within the borders of a country or by the distance of an ocean.

The terrorists of September 11th plotted in Hamburg and trained in Kandahar and Karachi before killing thousands from all over the globe on American soil.

As we speak, cars in Boston and factories in Beijing are melting the ice caps in the Arctic, shrinking coastlines in the Atlantic, and bringing drought to farms from Kansas to Kenya.

Poorly secured nuclear material in the former Soviet Union, or secrets from a scientist in Pakistan could help build a bomb that detonates in Paris. The poppies in Afghanistan become the heroin in Berlin. The poverty and violence in Somalia breeds the terror of tomorrow. The genocide in Darfur shames the conscience of us all.

In this new world, such dangerous currents have swept along faster than our efforts to contain them. That is why we cannot afford to be divided. No one nation, no matter how large or powerful, can defeat such challenges alone. None of us can deny these threats, or escape responsibility in meeting them. Yet, in the absence of Soviet tanks and a terrible wall, it has become easy to forget this truth. And if we’re honest with each other, we know that sometimes, on both sides of the Atlantic, we have drifted apart, and forgotten our shared destiny.

In Europe, the view that America is part of what has gone wrong in our world, rather than a force to help make it right, has become all too common. In America, there are voices that deride and deny the importance of Europe’s role in our security and our future. Both views miss the truth – that Europeans today are bearing new burdens and taking more responsibility in critical parts of the world; and that just as American bases built in the last century still help to defend the security of this continent, so does our country still sacrifice greatly for freedom around the globe.

Yes, there have been differences between America and Europe. No doubt, there will be differences in the future. But the burdens of global citizenship continue to bind us together. A change of leadership in Washington will not lift this burden. In this new century, Americans and Europeans alike will be required to do more – not less. Partnership and cooperation among nations is not a choice; it is the one way, the only way, to protect our common security and advance our common humanity.

That is why the greatest danger of all is to allow new walls to divide us from one another.

The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand. The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.

We know they have fallen before. After centuries of strife, the people of Europe have formed a Union of promise and prosperity. Here, at the base of a column built to mark victory in war, we meet in the center of a Europe at peace. Not only have walls come down in Berlin, but they have come down in Belfast, where Protestant and Catholic found a way to live together; in the Balkans, where our Atlantic alliance ended wars and brought savage war criminals to justice; and in South Africa, where the struggle of a courageous people defeated apartheid.

So history reminds us that walls can be torn down. But the task is never easy. True partnership and true progress requires constant work and sustained sacrifice. They require sharing the burdens of development and diplomacy; of progress and peace. They require allies who will listen to each other, learn from each other and, most of all, trust each other.

That is why America cannot turn inward. That is why Europe cannot turn inward. America has no better partner than Europe. Now is the time to build new bridges across the globe as strong as the one that bound us across the Atlantic. Now is the time to join together, through constant cooperation, strong institutions, shared sacrifice, and a global commitment to progress, to meet the challenges of the 21st century. It was this spirit that led airlift planes to appear in the sky above our heads, and people to assemble where we stand today. And this is the moment when our nations – and all nations – must summon that spirit anew.

This is the moment when we must defeat terror and dry up the well of extremism that supports it. This threat is real and we cannot shrink from our responsibility to combat it. If we could create NATO to face down the Soviet Union, we can join in a new and global partnership to dismantle the networks that have struck in Madrid and Amman; in London and Bali; in Washington and New York. If we could win a battle of ideas against the communists, we can stand with the vast majority of Muslims who reject the extremism that leads to hate instead of hope.

This is the moment when we must renew our resolve to rout the terrorists who threaten our security in Afghanistan, and the traffickers who sell drugs on your streets. No one welcomes war. I recognize the enormous difficulties in Afghanistan. But my country and yours have a stake in seeing that NATO’s first mission beyond Europe’s borders is a success. For the people of Afghanistan, and for our shared security, the work must be done. America cannot do this alone. The Afghan people need our troops and your troops; our support and your support to defeat the Taliban and al Qaeda, to develop their economy, and to help them rebuild their nation. We have too much at stake to turn back now.

This is the moment when we must renew the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. The two superpowers that faced each other across the wall of this city came too close too often to destroying all we have built and all that we love. With that wall gone, we need not stand idly by and watch the further spread of the deadly atom. It is time to secure all loose nuclear materials; to stop the spread of nuclear weapons; and to reduce the arsenals from another era. This is the moment to begin the work of seeking the peace of a world without nuclear weapons.

This is the moment when every nation in Europe must have the chance to choose its own tomorrow free from the shadows of yesterday. In this century, we need a strong European Union that deepens the security and prosperity of this continent, while extending a hand abroad. In this century – in this city of all cities – we must reject the Cold War mind-set of the past, and resolve to work with Russia when we can, to stand up for our values when we must, and to seek a partnership that extends across this entire continent.

This is the moment when we must build on the wealth that open markets have created, and share its benefits more equitably. Trade has been a cornerstone of our growth and global development. But we will not be able to sustain this growth if it favors the few, and not the many. Together, we must forge trade that truly rewards the work that creates wealth, with meaningful protections for our people and our planet. This is the moment for trade that is free and fair for all.

This is the moment we must help answer the call for a new dawn in the Middle East. My country must stand with yours and with Europe in sending a direct message to Iran that it must abandon its nuclear ambitions. We must support the Lebanese who have marched and bled for democracy, and the Israelis and Palestinians who seek a secure and lasting peace. And despite past differences, this is the moment when the world should support the millions of Iraqis who seek to rebuild their lives, even as we pass responsibility to the Iraqi government and finally bring this war to a close.

This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands. Let us resolve that all nations – including my own – will act with the same seriousness of purpose as has your nation, and reduce the carbon we send into our atmosphere. This is the moment to give our children back their future. This is the moment to stand as one.

And this is the moment when we must give hope to those left behind in a globalized world. We must remember that the Cold War born in this city was not a battle for land or treasure. Sixty years ago, the planes that flew over Berlin did not drop bombs; instead they delivered food, and coal, and candy to grateful children. And in that show of solidarity, those pilots won more than a military victory. They won hearts and minds; love and loyalty and trust – not just from the people in this city, but from all those who heard the story of what they did here.

Now the world will watch and remember what we do here – what we do with this moment. Will we extend our hand to the people in the forgotten corners of this world who yearn for lives marked by dignity and opportunity; by security and justice? Will we lift the child in Bangladesh from poverty, shelter the refugee in Chad, and banish the scourge of AIDS in our time?

Will we stand for the human rights of the dissident in Burma, the blogger in Iran, or the voter in Zimbabwe? Will we give meaning to the words “never again” in Darfur?

Will we acknowledge that there is no more powerful example than the one each of our nations projects to the world? Will we reject torture and stand for the rule of law? Will we welcome immigrants from different lands, and shun discrimination against those who don’t look like us or worship like we do, and keep the promise of equality and opportunity for all of our people?

People of Berlin – people of the world – this is our moment. This is our time.

I know my country has not perfected itself. At times, we’ve struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all of our people. We’ve made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions.

But I also know how much I love America. I know that for more than two centuries, we have strived – at great cost and great sacrifice – to form a more perfect union; to seek, with other nations, a more hopeful world. Our allegiance has never been to any particular tribe or kingdom – indeed, every language is spoken in our country; every culture has left its imprint on ours; every point of view is expressed in our public squares. What has always united us – what has always driven our people; what drew my father to America’s shores – is a set of ideals that speak to aspirations shared by all people: that we can live free from fear and free from want; that we can speak our minds and assemble with whomever we choose and worship as we please.

These are the aspirations that joined the fates of all nations in this city. These aspirations are bigger than anything that drives us apart. It is because of these aspirations that the airlift began. It is because of these aspirations that all free people – everywhere – became citizens of Berlin. It is in pursuit of these aspirations that a new generation – our generation – must make our mark on the world.

People of Berlin – and people of the world – the scale of our challenge is great. The road ahead will be long. But I come before you to say that we are heirs to a struggle for freedom. We are a people of improbable hope. With an eye toward the future, with resolve in our hearts, let us remember this history, and answer our destiny, and remake the world once again.

New Coin Law Passed Commemorate Disabled Vets
July 24th, 2008 · No Comments

H.R. 634: The American Veterans Disabled for Life Commemorative Coin Act has pass all legislative branches and the Bill became law on July 17, 2008.
American Veterans Disabled for Life Commemorative Coin Act.
To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of veterans who became disabled for life while serving in the Armed Forces of the United States.

Complete details of the bill can be read at OpenCongress.com

My opinion on this:
So the law is passed and now we just have to wait until these coins become available.
Since these are Commemorative Coins, I don’t think that they will be in circulation to the public.
More then likely, they will be offered on TV and retail markets that specialize in coins.

There are certain groups and organizations that have been trying to get the recognition for Congress to issue a Official Medal for those who served during the Cold War. And repeatedly, it has always failed. Why? Because of the estimated costs that it will be to produce and distribute the Medal to the individual’s who are entitled to them.

Wasn’t there a recent new story saying that it costs more to make a single penny then the actual value of the penny itself?

A Bill to Commemorate Veterans who are Disabled for Life????

I think the time and money should have went for something other for veterans besides a coin.
Perhaps… Issue an Official Cold War Medal. Funding to aid veterans and their families that are going through a difficult time. I’m sure that there are more, I just can’t think of them all.

Hey!, I just had a thought. “Will all the veterans that are disabled for life receive a FREE coin?
If so, then I’ll get one too.

I would be really surprised if that happened but, I really doubt it