Tags: cold war | museum | powers

Hero's Son Unveils Cold War Museum

Saturday, 26 Dec 2009 04:55 PM

By David A. Patten

The son of a U.S. hero whose U-2 spy plane was shot down in one of the most harrowing chapters in the U.S.-Soviet conflict tells Newsmax that his lifelong crusade to preserve Cold War history has been fulfilled: The establishment of The Cold War Museum.

For decades, Francis Gary Powers, Jr., and colleagues have collected and preserved unique and rare Cold War-era artifacts from throughout the world.

Earlier this month, they signed a lease for a facility where they will host educational programs and put that historic memorabilia on display.

The home of the two-story building housing the museum: Vint Hill, the former U.S. Army communications base in Fauquier County, Va.

About 30 miles from Washington Dulles International Airport, the top-secret Vint Hill installation used by the National Security Agency, the CIA, and Army intelligence to help safeguard the nation from a surprise nuclear attack during the Cold War. It is located near the Manassas National Battlefield Park and the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

"We are excited about our new home and look forward to opening the museum to the public in 2010," Powers said.

Many Cold War stores have never been fully revealed due to the secretive nature of the international struggle between Communism and democracy. Historians are concerned that with each passing day, the stories of freedom's epic struggle against the Soviet empire fade further into oblivion.

Francis Gary Powers, whose mission was to take high-resolution photographs of Soviet military installations at altitudes of over 90,000 feet, was shot down when his son Gary was just a month shy of his 5th birthday.

Powers' subsequent arrest, trial, and imprisonment created a major international incident.

Following a high-profile "spy swap" with the Russians 21 months after his imprisonment, Powers returned home to face a grilling from Congress.

The war hero died in a helicopter accident in 1977, posthumously receiving a host of medals and awards, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Silver Star, and the CIA's coveted Intelligence Star for extreme honor and courage in the line of duty.

"Now that we have a physical home for the museum, I need your financial support to assist the museum as we move forward," says Francis Gary Powers, Jr.

Powers tells Newsmax The Cold War Museum is seeking end-of-year donations to help establish the museum and its many fascinating exhibits. Donations can be made at the ColdWar.org Web site, or by sending a check or money order to The Cold War Museum, P.O. Box 178, Fairfax, VA 22038.

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