Originally published 06/07/2013
Stephanie Meeks is the president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.The Manhattan Project, the secret research mission to develop an atomic weapon ahead of Germany and bring an end to World War II, was one of the 20th century's most ambitious feats of science and engineering. And one of its darkest moments.In many respects, the Manhattan Project ushered in the modern era. The creation and use of these early weapons of mass destruction raised profound ethical questions, which remain just as challenging and urgent today as in 1945. As a nation, we have a responsibility to grapple openly and objectively with the Manhattan Project's complex legacy.To do that, we need a place for reflection. Legislation before Congress would establish the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, an assembly of three locations central to the development of the atomic bomb: Hanford, Wash., site of the first full-scale nuclear reactor; Oak Ridge, Tenn., home to the first uranium enrichment plant; and the laboratory and related sites at Los Alamos, N.M....