LANSING, Mich. — Today Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D–Taylor) introduced two resolutions to honor Michigan’s atomic veterans for their sacrifice and service to the state and nation.

The first resolution, Senate Resolution 72, declares July 16, 2017 as National Atomic Veterans Day in Michigan. It was adopted in the Senate. The second resolution, Senate Resolution 73, memorializes the U.S. Congress to do all it can to support atomic veterans, their spouses and dependents in receiving medical care and disability compensation for their service and sacrifice to the state and the U.S. Senate Resolution 73 was referred to the Senate Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs and Homeland Security.

“Throughout the history of this great state and nation, Michigan citizens have answered the call of duty and service, and defended our freedoms as members of the U.S. Armed Forces,” Sen. Hopgood said.

On July 16, 1945, as a result of the Manhattan Project, the U.S. conducted the first detonation of a nuclear device in New Mexico, also known as the Trinity nuclear test. More than 200,000 American service members, including those from Michigan, participated in these aboveground nuclear tests between 1945 and 1962, served with the U.S. military occupation forces in or around Hiroshima and Nagasaki before 1946, or were held as prisoners of war in or near Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

“These atomic veterans were exposed to radiation during their military service and, due to that exposure, developed several types of medical conditions that are not currently listed under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act,” Sen. Hopgood said. “Secrecy laws and oaths prevented many of them from seeking medical care or disability compensation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for conditions they developed as a result of the radiation exposure.”

In 1996, the U.S. Congress repealed the Nuclear Radiation and Secrecy Agreements Act, which freed atomic veterans to describe their military involvement in nuclear testing in order to file for Veterans Affairs benefits.

“These resolutions reflect pride in Michigan’s history, and honor our veterans for their commitment to this country,” Sen. Hopgood said. “They were subjected to an unusual risk, and deserve our respect and gratitude.”

###