This weekend, Americans will honor soldiers who fought the country's wars, from the Somme to Kandahar. In Manassas, Va., 30 miles from the nation's capital, a parade on Saturday will honor veterans of another big war: the one that never happened.
The Cold War, from 1945 to the Soviet Union's breakup in 1991, was all about avoiding total nuclear war. It turned hot in Korea and Vietnam and sparked conflicts from Lebanon to Grenada. But soldiers on duty between flare-ups didn't do battle. When the war that wasn't came to an end, they got no monuments, no victory medals.
For me, personally, the lack of a Cold War medal is more of a minor irritation than anything else; the important part was that (a) we won (b) without blowing up the Western world in the process. Besides, joining the American Legion was never a big goal of mine; and, last I looked, the Navy Expeditionary Medal I received for our little "independent submarine operations" would make me eligible for the Veterans of Foreign Wars should I choose to pursue them. But I absolutely see Peters' point.
Originally posted at http://edschweppe.dreamwidth.org/155146.html - comment wherever you please.