OF FRANCIS GARY POWERS, JR.
Founder, The Cold War Museum
on National Parks,
Recreation and Public Lands
Joel Hefley, (CO-05), Chairman
To require that the Secretary of the Interior
conduct a study to identify sites and resources,
to recommend alternatives for commemorating
and interpreting the Cold War, and for other
| My name is Francis
Gary Powers, Jr. from Fairfax, Virginia, and
I'm the founder of The Cold War Museum. I'm
pleased to have this special opportunity to
testify before this subcommittee today. I'd
like to express my gratitude to Congressman
Hefley for inviting me here and for sponsoring
a bill so significant to our country.
This bill means much to me personally. As
the son of a famous Cold War figure, I grew
up with the Cold War. The Cold War Museum
began for me as a way to honor my father,
but it soon took on a much greater life and
purpose. I am working toward a museum that
will honor all the men and women who worked
for democracy and freedom during the Cold
War. The Museum is not about reviving old
hatreds, rather it's about promoting lessons
learned. It's about teaching democracy and
the pursuit of world peace. The Cold War Museum
will dedicate resources to commemorating those
whose deeds and sacrifices furthered democracy,
but the Museum strives for an international
and objective understanding of the Cold War
- one of the most intense periods of conflict,
and most dangerous years in human history.
The purposes of the Cold War Museum are:
- To preserve the artifacts important
to that period;
- To interpret the Cold War through research
and information gathering; and
- To serve as the focal point for information
and preservation activities related to
the Cold War era.
The Museum's distinguished board of directors
are experts in museum management, nonprofit
management, and various aspects of Cold War
history. We also have an Advisory Board, which
includes Sergei Khrushchev, (son of Nikita
Khrushchev), former Eisenhower aide Ambassador
Vernon Walters, and renowned photographic
interpreter Dino Brugioni.
Recently, the Cold War Museum developed a
list of important Cold War sites, (a focal
point of your bill), with the eventual goal
of recognizing a Cold War site in every state.
(I have included a list of Cold War sites
in my collateral material for your review.)
The museum doesn't have a permanent home,
but we sponsor traveling exhibits that have
been displayed throughout the US (including
CIA headquarters in Virginia), and in Norway,
Germany and Russia.
America has honored men and women from many
wars who died for freedom, but whatever the
reason, there has been almost no recognition
of the Cold War, an era that lasted almost
50 years, cost thousands of lives, trillions
of dollars, changed the course of history,
and left America the only superpower in the
world. However, the Cold War is virtually
unknown to the current generation. This is
a great disservice to all those who gave their
lives during the Cold War.
James Billlington, Librarian of Congress,
said in a foreign policy speech, "The Cold
War was the central conflict of the second
half of the 20th century, the longest and
most unconventional war of the entire modern
era and an unprecedented experience for Americans.
We were faced for the first time in our history
with an opponent who was both ideologically
committed to overthrow our system and was
equipped to destroy us physically."
Journalist Charles Krauthammer, in an Op-Ed
piece in the Washington Post, entitled "Build
a Cold War Memorial," had this to say:
"The Cold War did not have the dramatic intensity
of World War II, but it was just as real and
just as dangerous. Though often clandestine
and subtle, it ranged worldwide, cost many
lives, evoked much heroism and lasted what
seemed like forever.
Considering the stakes, the scope and the
suffering, this was a struggle that deserves
Although the Cold War periodically resurfaces
in the news, as is evident by the Hanssen
spy case, many people really don't understand
the background and the history. The Cold War
Museum's web site testifies to the public's
need for information. Over the past 23 months,
250,000 people have visited the museum's web
site, www.coldwar.org. Those who have tested
their knowledge on our Cold War trivia and
history quizzes have helped make the case
for passage of HR 107. Ten percent of the
respondents believe John F. Kennedy was President
of the United States when the Soviet Union
was dissolved. The need for the passage of
HR 107, the construction of a Cold War Museum,
and related educational programs is clear.
Charles Krauthammer said this about a proposed
Cold War Monument, "It needn't be grandiose,
but it must have a small museum for instruction.
A gallery of heroes: Truman, Marshall, Churchill,
Reagan. A hall for the fallen: the secret
agents who died anonymously. A tribute to
allies and friends…and a gulag display, so
our children will learn the nature of evil."
We would like to suggest that the Department
of the Interior conduct a study to establish
the value of a permanent Cold War Museum as
the central repository for Cold War artifacts
Our plans include the following:
- Display Cold War photos, artwork, and
- Establish an endowed research chair
at the Cold War Museum.
- Collect biographies on key figures of
the Cold War.
- Record oral and written histories to
capture the human side of the conflict.
- Create an inventory of key technologies
that resulted from Cold War research and
- Develop a comprehensive inventory of
significant Cold War sites and resources
that need to be preserved such as military
sites, homes of key figures, laboratories,
test sites, and historic places.
(Congressman Hefley, we believe it is vital
to begin now to preserve these historic resources;
records are being lost and sites fall prey
to developers every day.)
I am proud to say that the Cold War Museum
has already become an affiliate of the Smithsonian
Institution. They have agreed to conduct a
feasibility study to determine which artifacts
from their national collection could be used
in Cold War Museum exhibits and displays.
We have also received offers of support from
a variety of sources including the Holocaust
Museum, Voice of America, and the embassies
of Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovakia and
In the coming weeks and months, Congress will
consider a number of issues. H.R.107 should
certainly be included in its agenda to preserve
American history and significant historical
We believe the interest and support of James
Billington, Charles Krauthammer, the Smithsonian
Institution, the Voice of America, the Holocaust
Museum, and various embassies and schools
are obvious proof that this bill and the Cold
War Museum would be of considerable value
to our country.
Congressman Hefley, the directors of the Cold
War Museum and I would like to express our
strongest possible support for your bill.
HR 107 will help to educate students, honor
Cold War Veterans and preserve Cold War history.
The mission and goals of the Cold War Museum
further the objectives of HR 107. We hope
to continue to be involved with helping you
and this Commission when it is established.
Please feel free to call upon us at any time.