April 16, 2004

National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day, 2004
The President issued the proclamation on April 9. From his remarks:
Today, nine out of ten former prisoners of war are veterans of World War II. These Americans helped to liberate millions and defeat tyranny around the world, and survived unspeakable horrors for the cause of freedom ...
America will never forget these quiet heroes and all of our former prisoners of war who suffered adversity in Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Somalia, Kosovo, Iraq, and other conflicts. Our Nation is grateful to our former prisoners of war for their sacrifice to help protect the democratic ideals that make our country strong ...
I call upon all Americans to join me in remembering all former American prisoners of war who suffered the hardships of enemy captivity.
Welcome home.

In related news, The Department of Defense announced today that the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office will this week host a historic meeting between key Russian and U.S. archivists examining the issue of American POWs and MIAs at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
" ... NARA experts in the preservation, handling, storage and release of historical materials will lead discussions with their Russian counterparts. A delegation of ten Russians is expected to attend, including Chief of Archival Services of the General Staff, Col. Sergei A. Ilyenkov, and Col. Vladimir V. Kozin of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Other Russian attendees will represent the Ministry of Defense; the Central Archives of the Navy; the Military Medical Museum and Archives; and the Archives of the Border Guards. U.S. archivists representing governmental and private collections also are expected to attend.
The conference will examine issues of declassification of military and political documents; technical aids to improve the operation of a modern archive; Korean and Vietnam War documents held in Russian archives; and other issues of importance to the American effort to account for missing U.S. servicemen.

There's good news from the military, too: The World War II Memorial is Due to Open ... The World War II memorial on the National Mall in Washington will be dedicated May 29. Betsy Glick, the memorial's communications director, said the 7.4-acre site between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial still needs some "fine-tuning of small items," but that the memorial will be ready for opening the last week of April.
Two 43-foot arches welcome visitors to a bronze-and-granite memorial plaza. The arches, she said, serve as north and south entries to the plaza, and within each arch are four bronze eagles that hold a suspended victory laurel.
A 17-foot granite pillar adorned with bronze oak and wheat wreaths, symbolic of the nation's industrial and agricultural strength, represents each state and territory from that period. "The 56 pillars celebrate unprecedented national unity," Glick explained.
In the center of the pillars stands a rainbow reflecting pool with fountains and a wall with 4,000 sculpted, gold-plated stars. The stars commemorate the 400,000 American soldiers who died in the war and the 16 million who served and supported the war effort from home, she added.
The memorial, which cost $170 million to build and will be officially dedicated May 29 during Memorial Day weekend, culminates an 11-year effort to honor America's World War II generation.
The four-day celebration begins a 100-day summer-long tribute to the world War II generation that Glick said is "long overdue."
When she asked one veteran from Texas accompanying a reporter what he thought, he replied, "You got it right."
Check out the World War II Memorial Site.

In other news, there will be a series of lectures by a Los Alamos National Laboratory Physicist talking about how computer simulations can teach us about the Earth's cataclysmic past and the underlying processes that we see today on land, in the sea and in the atmosphere.
Galen Gisler of Los Alamos' Applied Physics Division spoke for the first time on "Calculating Extinction: The Meteor Impact That Killed the Dinosaurs," on Wednesday, April 14, at Los Alamos High School. Gisler's talk is the latest in the Laboratory's Frontiers in Science lecture series.
The most recent and well-known catastrophic mass extinction in Earth's fossil record is the so-called K/T boundary event, which defines the end of the Cretaceous (K) Period, when dinosaurs last ruled the Earth, and the beginning of the Tertiary (T), the age of mammals.
"Computer simulations recreate events like this to show how the observed facts are linked to one another and to the event that produced them," Gisler said. "We make guesses about the size, speed and trajectory of the asteroid, and then we run a calculation ... (which) improves our understanding of highly dynamic processes in Earth's crust and atmosphere."
To simulate the asteroid event, Gisler and his colleagues used a computer code, called RAGE, from Los Alamos' Crestone project that was capable of providing dramatic details in three dimensions. The simulation required one million hours of processor time on the Laboratory's ASCI Q supercomputer.
And if they were using my machine, it would have taken a hundred million hours.

You can read the White House Transcript of President Bush's recent Press Conference here
Be sure to check out "Ask the White House"

From Government News & Info

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