NATIONAL DAY OF REMEMBRANCE FOR
FORGOTTEN HEROES OF THE COLD WAR
MAY 1, 2008
At noon on May1, we gathered in Arlington National Cemetery to hold a memorial service, to remember those heroes who died or were held captive in the service of their country during the Cold War, with special emphasis on those lost in the multitude of shadow campaigns which were unrecognized by our country at the time. Many casualties from the Armed Forces and the Intelligence Community are buried at Arlington, and many others were lost in lonely and obscure places and operations. Many simply vanished while in the line of duty, like the four Army and Navy men aboard the PBY-5 aircraft called the Blue Goose, flying over the Taiwan Strait in 1958, or the F9F from the USS Essex that was lost over the Gulf of Tonkin in 1954, and the POWs of the Korean War who were taken to Siberia, never to return or be accounted for. We gathered to remember those who rest at Arlington, and those who can never return but should never be forgotten. Our ceremony at Arlington took place in a misting rain, in Section 34 of the Cemetery, where many heroes of the Cold War are buried - including crewmen and the skipper of the USS Liberty, a well as crewmen of a downed US aircraft in China in 1946.
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
The ceremony, led by Dr. Frank Tims and Dr. David Clevenger, was followed by placement of roses on the graves of Cold War heroes, including Captain William McGonagle (MOH), General James A. Van Fleet, and many others. A color guard, as well as the bugler, were provided by the Carson Long Military Institute of Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Our profound thanks to them.
After a brief welcome by Frank Tims, the color guard carried the American flag and the POW/MIA flag forward for the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ernie Gallo, President of the USS Liberty Veterans Association, spoke eloquently of the 34 crew members of his ship killed, and 174 wounded in the 1967 attack off the Sinai Peninsula. The wounded included Captain William McGonagle, who received the Medal of Honor for his actions during and after the attack. The skipper, though badly wounded, stayed in command for 16 hours and saved his ship.
After Ernie Gallo's speech, David Clevenger delivered a moving memorial speech and prayer. Those assembled stood at attention as the ceremony of the bells was observed, with a bell rang 21 times, to represent a 21-gun salute, followed by "Taps," played by the bugler from an overlooking hill.
The participants then dispersed to their assigned locations to place a rose on the graves of Heroes of the Cold War. Next May 1, we will gather at Arlington to conduct another Day of Remembrance ceremony.
As our organization's motto says, "We remember."
At entrance to Arlington National Cemetery is the
Memorial to Women in Military Service.
David Clevenger (left) and Frank Tims welcome participants to the ceremony honoring Forgotten Heroes of the Cold War
Color guard comes forward with Old Glory and POW/MIA flag,
as Scott L'Ecuyer salutes.
Participants stand at attention as color guard prepares to present the colors.
Participants stand at attention for presentation of the colors.
Robin Piacine places a rose at the grave of General James A. Van Fleet, who led the US Military Advisors in Greece (1948-1950), and commanded the Eighth US Army in the Korean War.
Major Willard G. Palm, USAF, shot down by Soviet Migs over Barents Sea, July 1, 1960
William Boyle places a rose at the grave of Major Arthur D. Nicholson, US Army, killed by a Soviet sentry in East Germany, March 24, 1985.
Robin Piacine places a rose at the grave of US Navy Captain
William Edward Nordeen, killed by a Marxist terrorist group in
Greece, June 26, 1988.
Captain William Loren McGonagle, the skipper of the USS Liberty (AGTR-5), rests in Section 34 of Arlington National Cemetery, near the graves of many of those killed and wounded in the June 8, 1967 attack on his ship. He won the Medal of Honor, and his ship became the most decorated US Navy vessel since World War II. We will never forget him or the men of his ship.
Section 2, location of group burial of crew of USAAF C-47 shot down over Yugoslavia, 1946
Memorial to crew members of USAAF C-47 shot down over Yugoslavia in 1946
USN Air Crew Lost in NATO Exercise September 24, 1957
Crew of USAF C-130, Shot Down During Mission Over
Soviet Armenia, September 2, 1958
Buried in Section 34, Arlington National Cemetery
Aerial view of Section 3, the location of a memorial stone for LT Robert Lee Krag, USN, of the USS Thresher (lost 1963)
Crewmen of USN Anti-submarine Patrol Flight, Lost on Mission near Greenland, January 12, 1962
LTJG John A. Brown
LTJG Anthony F. Caswick
ATM5 Alan F. Millette
AFAN Joseph W. Rennerberg
A05 Grover E. Wells
Captain George Tsantes, Jr., USN, killed by terrorists in Athens, Greece, November 14, 1983
Colonel James "Nick" Rowe, US Army Special Forces, Killed by Terrorists in Manila, Philippines, April 21, 1989
These are but a few of the Forgotten Heroes of the Cold War buried at Arlington. Others are buried at cemeteries in their home states. Many more were lost under circumstances that make their recovery impossible.
On completion of the ceremony, the organization separated into smaller groups and placed flowers on the graves of several Heroes of the Cold War. These brave men and women might be forgotten by the general public, but as our motto says, "We remember."
Next May 1, we plan to continue our tradition of honoring their memory with ceremonies at Arlington.
To see scenes from the other ceremonies:
Portsmouth, New Hampshire (click here)
and Seal Beach, California (click here)