Magazine article VFW Magazine

'You Won the Cold War'

Magazine article VFW Magazine

'You Won the Cold War'

Article excerpt

By The Editors

During the weeklong commemoration of former President Ronald Reagan's death in June 2004, eulogies often credited him with almost singlehandedly winning the Cold War against the Soviet Union. While he vigorously pursued victory over mere containment, Reagan's strategy was rooted in policies launched by the Truman Administration.

But proclaiming presidential administrations the victors in the struggle against Soviet communism misses the point. As President Reagan would have no doubt been the first to agree, it was those who provided the muscle behind the policies that ensured victory. Americans in uniform and their civilian intelligence counterparts, in other words, made victory possible.

Millions of Americans served in the Cold War between 1945 and 1991. Many were in overlooked campaigns, crises and confrontations and on forgotten fronts beyond the full-fledged wars in Korea and Vietnam.

The triumph should be credited to soldiers who patrolled hostile borders, airmen who flew aerial reconnaissance missions, sailors who kept watch over and under the seas, Marines who fought isolated firefights and advisers who assisted fledgling armies resisting communism.

The ultimate honor goes to 382 Americans killed as a result of hostile communist action in North China, Korea's DMZ, the Philippines, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Southeast Europe, over barren landscapes and open seas and in other forsaken locales. It is to these servicemen the public owes a special debt of gratitude. …

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