By Luciano Vera
Over 5,500 visitors from around the world made the 70th anniversary of the first nuclear bomb test at Trinity Site a record breaking event.
The Trinity Site Open House, which is now back to being held twice a year, had visitors of all ages.
Carl Legge drove his twin sons from Colorado for some cross generational father son bonding time.
“I want my sons to appreciate the freedoms they have and to understand what our country went through so many years ago. I want them to grow up knowing this key part of history.”
Jake Legge, 12, was inspired to be able to stand on ground zero after watching a video of the explosion online.
“My favorite part is all the pictures showing what happened and how they did it. I really like seeing the Fatman bomb too and being able to see the trinitite.”
During the open house visitors had a chance to walk on ground zero and take photos with an obelisk marking the site as a national historic monument. About 2 miles down the road, tourists were allowed to enter the McDonald Ranch House, where the plutonium core for the bomb was assembled.
“The ranch hose looks so tranquil and like a regular house in the middle of nowhere. It’s still here and to think of those incredible minds changing the world in this little ranch house blows my mind,” said Mary Ganus, 67, from Albuquerque.
Ganus had a look of amazement as she walked through the house and learned more details of how the scientists lived and assembled the core.
“It’s a huge turning point in history, it changed the whole world overnight, and the fact that it’s right here. I’m amazed I can come and walk in their footsteps to understand what happened that day,” she said.
Zachary Baker, 12, was inspired to visit Trinity Site after reading a book about a girl who lived near the test area called Green Glass.
“Reading about the girl’s experience and trinitite is cool, and then getting to actually see what she describes got me very excited,” Baker said.
“My favorite part is looking at the foundation for the tower that raised the bomb. It’s interesting to see what was left and it’s just a corner of the tower. It shows the power of the bomb,” he said.
Teresa Foley an employee at White Sands Missile Range added the site visit to her bucket list after reading a book called Hitler’s Gift.
“It says some of the people who worked on the bomb were Jewish and were kicked out of Germany or came on their own. And to think that right here in this little room they helped to end the war and change the world. I work right here and after 7 years of seeing the signs I finally made it,” Foley said.
The previous attendance record was set for the 50th anniversary 20 years ago with around 5,300 visitors.
“The support and education of the public on this national historic landmark is a means to keep history alive. Public access ensures the events that took place on July 16, 1945 will be remembered and passed on to the next generation,” said Cammy Montoya, WSMR Public Affairs Specialist.
The next Trinity Site Open house is scheduled for Oct. 3. For more information on the open house visit the White Sands Missile Range homepage at http://www.wsmr.army.mil and click on the Trinity tab.