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The History of the
National Day
of Remembrance

September 29, 2020

September 29, 2020

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CWP Blog

How It All Began

Do you know how the National Day of Remembrance began? In the late 1990s groups of sick workers would travel to Washington, D.C. to educate Congress on the need for a federal program to compensate workers who developed serious illnesses through their exposure to radiation and other toxic substances at U.S. Department of Energy nuclear weapons facilities and the uranium mining and processing industry. Because of their advocacy, twenty years ago the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000 (EEOICPA) was passed on October 30.

The late Janine Anderson, a former worker from the K-25 plant in Oak Ridge, TN, and former Cold War Patriots (CWP) Advisory Committee member, was one of those advocates. From her visits to Congress, she developed a rapport with many responsible for the passage of EEOICPA and along with other advocates, monitored the program to ensure its implementation followed the intent of Congress.

Janine Anderson

Janine had another dream. Every year, she wanted the country to honor these civilian workers who were put in harm’s way, often without their knowledge, by designating October 30 as the National Day of Remembrance. Janine’s first step was raising the idea with Cold War Patriots; and on April 29, 2009, CWP and the Atomics Trades and Labor Council Union Hall arranged a day-long signing of a 40-foot-long scrolled petition. With the continued help of Cold War Patriots and local congressmen, Janine gathered petitions from across the country asking the U.S. Senate to designate October 30 as the National Day of Remembrance for nuclear weapons and uranium workers. The first National Day of Remembrance was celebrated in 2009, the same year Janine passed away from cancer caused by her work at K-25.

Since 2009, Cold War Patriots has carried Janine’s torch; obtaining Congressional resolution every year designating October 30 as the National Day of Remembrance.