72 years ago, on July 16, 1945, New Mexico became the center of a top-secret defense operation dubbed Trinity – the first ever test of an atomic bomb.
On Saturday, White Sands Missile Range opened its gates for a peek into an otherwise secretive chapter of New Mexico history, one with very few reminders nearly three-quarters of a century later.
It only happens twice a year, allowing the public a rare visit to what was once a top-secret compound known as the Trinity Site.
“It’s located within an active test area, so granting access is somewhat challenging because, for safety and security reasons, we can’t allow people in at the same time we are doing testing,” said Drew Hamilton of the White Sands Missile Range.
A couple miles away, the McDonald Ranch sits frozen in the year 1945, a time capsule that once served as the assembly site to a plutonium core that would power the bomb dubbed “Gadget.”
“It’s just a really special site, partially for the history of it but partially for the structure and the ranching history that went into it,” said Nicole Kliebert, outreach coordinator for Cornerstone Community Partnerships.
Despite the controversy, some say the Trinity Site is a location charged with history, a spot with historical significance that can be felt only by going there yourself.
“Unambiguously, there is no argument that a significant thing happened here, and everything was different from that time,” said first-time Trinity Site visitor Warren Fitzgerald.
“We think that it’s really important to allow people in to give them a chance to see the site, experience it," Hamilton said, "and then make their own decisions about what this means for the world and the future.”
Updated: October 07, 2017 09:39 PM
Created: October 07, 2017 09:20 PM
Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved