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- Public Notices
Historians have called the Manhattan Project the most significant undertaking of the 20th century. Employing hundreds of thousands at its peak, located in widely scattered, secret communities, the project brought an end to World War II and ushered in the atomic age.
At its heart, the story of the Manhattan Project is an amazing episode of our great nation’s history. It brought together the brightest scientists, many of them immigrants who came to this country seeking freedom. They faced pressure to end the world’s most horrible war by creating something that had only existed in theory.
The Manhattan Project is a story about young people with a can-do spirit who brought about a great technological achievement. It is the story of unleashing a mysterious force of nature and of fostering fear and uncertainty about the future of humankind. It is a story about creativity. It is a scientific story, a soldier’s story, a spy story, and a human story. The story of the Manhattan Project is one that, from the perspectives of all who participated and all who were affected, must be told.
Some critics have said that a national park dedicated to the Manhattan Project will glorify the atomic bomb or create a theme park for weapons of mass destruction. I disagree. The National Park Service, of all government agencies, is the most trusted for telling complete stories from all sides—the good and bad, the painful and the poignant. Parks and monuments that commemorate battles or massacres do not celebrate ugly moments in American history. They teach about them; they help us, as a nation, to reflect and learn. We are also especially pleased to see in the final section of the bill that both the Department of Interior and the Department of Energy will be able to accept monetary or service donations for the park. This is particularly important to restoration work at Los Alamos National Laboratory and will assist the lab in preserving a significant historic site. One individual has been waiting in the wings for years to donate to the site’s restoration but has had no mechanism for giving the money. The park will allow this preservation project to take place.