KADOKA, S.D. (KEVN) - As America paused to remember President George H.W. Bush, a National Park site honored the 41st president in a unique fashion - telling the story of the Cold War.
The work of Bush 41 in ending the Cold War and nuclear arms race figures prominently at the Minuteman Missile Historic Site near Kadoka. With that in mind, the park service opted to keep the site open Wednesday, rather than close along with most federal government agencies.
“President Bush made remarkable choices and I think it’s good that today we’re pausing to remember those things,” site Superintendent Eric Leonard said.
When most people think about Bush 41’s legacy the first Gulf War comes to mind but a more far-reaching event was the day in July 1991 when the president signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with the Soviet Union.
With the stroke of a pen the countries started to reduce nuclear arsenals, including removing 150 Minuteman Two missiles scattered across western South Dakota. It was, as Bush called it, a “plan for peace.”
“His background in diplomacy gave him the tools to help the peaceful dismantlement not simply of the nuclear arsenal but of an empire,” Leonard remarked.
Bush 41’s “plan for peace” does show signs of unraveling with North Korea’s nuclear weapons quest and the fact that START’s predecessor - the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty - is expected to be shelved by the President Trump because of Russia’s development of new missiles.