CLEVELAND — July 16 marks National Atomic Veteran's Day, which is dedicated to the soldiers who participated in U.S. Nuclear bomb tests from
the mid-40s to the early 60s.
Many were exposed to radiation in the tests that led to health problems down the road and struggled for years to get the medical help they needed.
In 1956, Dyo Ellingsworth was a part of more than 550,000 soldiers that participated in nuclear bomb testing.
"They told us to bring our knees up and put our heads down and all of a sudden we heard a loud explosion," Ellingsworth said.
Of that 550,000, only 1,400 are left with 15 in Ohio. Many suffered from health conditions due to the radiation.
"We were told not to talk about anyplace we were at we couldn’t even write letters," Ellingsworth said.
Since they were sworn to secrecy for nearly 50 years, they couldn't get the medical aid they needed.
"Most of the people that were involved in it became cancers," Ellingsworth said.
It wasn't until 1996 when Congress repealed the Nuclear Radiation Secret Agreements Act that veterans were allowed to tell their stories and seek medical attention.