Historians elated over Manhattan Project park

After years of work, a Manhattan Project National Historical Park that could include Oak Ridge is one step closer to reality, and local historians are reacting with excitement.

"We're just thrilled," Oak Ridge City Historian Bill Wilcox said. "A major milestone has been reached."

On Wednesday, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced he is recommending to Congress the establishment of a national historical park to commemorate the Manhattan Project, the top-secret federal program to build atomic bombs during World War II. The proposed park could include three sites where much of the critical scientific activity occurred: Oak Ridge; Los Alamos, N.M; and Hanford, Wash.

"Now is a good time to take a breath, stop for a minute, and realize how far we have come and enjoy the success by celebrating our progress," Ray Smith, Y-12 National Security Complex historian and columnist for The Oak Ridger, said after Wednesday's announcement. "Then we will need to focus on the next steps to making our park a reality."...

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