There were many symbolic ends to the Cold War. The most obvious was when the Berlin Wall was opened and East and West Germany reunified. But for many, the Cold War ended on more personal terms: a divided family reunited; a young student free to study abroad; citizens casting their first vote in a truly democratic election. My career began in the Cold War, working on missile defence, space weapons, nuclear command, control, communications and intelligence, and MX missile basing (the last of which is now long forgotten, thankfully). For me, the Cold War ended when the last nuclear weapon rolled out of Ukraine. I was there in Pervomaysk that summer day in 1996 when sunflowers were planted where a Soviet missile silo once stood. As someone who dedicated the early part of his career to understanding – only in theoretical terms, happily – the technical capabilities and terrible nature of nuclear weapons, this moment demonstrated that, despite humanity’s need for security, a country could choose to give up nuclear weapons.
Carter, Ashton B. "A Strong and Balanced Approach to Russia." Survival 58.6 (December 2016-January 2017): 51-62.