|From:||CPEO Moderator <email@example.com>|
|Date:||18 Apr 2003 16:39:02 -0000|
|Subject:||[CPEO-MEF] North Shore was home to eight ballistic missile sites|
Illinois GLENCOE NEWS North Shore was home to eight ballistic missile sites BY MARION RIEDLE The duct-tape-and-plastic advisory issued two months ago by the Homeland Security Council pales in comparison to the defense initiatives of the Cold War era when the North Shore was home to eight Nike ballistic missile battalions including a nuclear missile site in Glencoe's Skokie Lagoons. These installations were stocked with powerful antiaircraft, surface-to-air missiles that were part of the "line of last defense" against a Soviet surprise nuclear attack against the United States. Besides Glencoe, sleepy suburban fixed missile launching sites were located in Arlington Heights, Barrington, Fort Sheridan, Vernon Hills and Mundelein. By today's standards, the neighborhood presence of a Nike missile site is almost inconceivable, conjuring up images of a Steven Spielberg movie. But the Cold War years were different. "The Nike Program, and the installation at Skokie Lagoon, was meant to provide a sense of comfort to Americans and it did just that," said Roland Calhoon, whose family has lived in Glencoe since 1871. As village president of Glencoe from 1968 to 1976, Calhoon had first-hand experience working with the Skokie Lagoon site until the Nike Program ended in 1974. "Knowing nuclear missiles were virtually located in our back yard was a part of life that was taken very matter-of-factly among village residents," Calhoon said. "The Cold War began close enough to World War II, so the attitude of the general public was one that genuinely believed in supporting programs that were developed for the greater good of the country." Jerry Biederman, a resident of Glencoe since 1951, agreed with Calhoon. "The Nike site wasn't a terribly forbidding facility," Biederman recalled, adding most Americans thought the missile sites were necessary to defend the nation from the Soviet threat. Biederman, who as student at South School was accustomed to the "duck and cover" atomic bomb drills of the Cold War era, remembered the Glencoe site at Skokie Lagoon vividly and fondly. When he was 10, Biederman said he and his friends passed idle hours outside the chain-link fence encircling the compound, where they watched military personnel perform routine tests on missile and radar monitoring equipment. "There was a sense that we were a country involved in a struggle to preserve our freedom against communism and the Soviet Union and, quite frankly, at the time, the feeling was that it was a battle we were not always winning," he said. "Having a missile site so close to home must have given some residents reason for pause, although I can't remember feeling anything but that of being protected," added Biederman. This article can be viewed at: http://www.pioneerlocal.com/cgi-bin/ppo-story/localnews/current/gl/04-17-03-1120.html ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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