Oak Ridge will have two community events on November 12 to celebrate the establishment of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. That proposal has been in the works for years to commemorate the Manhattan Project, a top-secret federal program to build the world’s first atomic weapons during World War II.
The legislation authorizing the park was signed into law in December 2014, and it designated sites in Oak Ridge, Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Hanford, Washington as a new three-site national park.
The Oak Ridge City Council has designated the week of November 9-15 as
“The Manhattan Project National Historical Park Week.”
Events have been scheduled at Oak Ridge High School and in Historic Jackson Square on Thursday, November 12, two days after a signing ceremony in Washington, D.C. The two Oak Ridge events will celebrate the establishment of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.
The park will be officially established on Tuesday, November 10, when Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz meet in Washington, D.C., to sign a memorandum of agreement, or MOA, outlining the roles and responsibilities of the respective agencies in managing and interpreting the assets of the park, a press release said. Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch, City Manager Mark Watson, and Superintendent of Schools Bruce Borchers will join several other community leaders to represent the City of Oak Ridge at the signing ceremony.
On Thursday, November 12, two events in Oak Ridge will commemorate the establishment of the new park. A community celebration with be held at the Oak Ridge High School auditorium beginning at 2 p.m. Federal, state, and local officials, including, representatives from the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of Energy, will participate in the program. The Oak Ridge High School Choir will perform a selection of Americana music. The event is open to the public.
“This is a special day of recognition not only for the City of Oak Ridge, but for all Tennesseans who served our nation during World War II,” Gooch said. “I encourage everyone to come out and join in the event to acknowledge the designation of this unique national park and Oak Ridge’s significant contributions to American and world history.”
The second event will take place at 4 p.m. November 12 at Historic Jackson Square. The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce will host a ribbon cutting at the new fountain, followed by a “Community Photo” to commemorate the day.
“We are hoping to generate a large crowd to re-create the iconic Ed Westcott photo taken at the end of the war,” Watson said. “Our community worked for nearly a decade on the park project to help preserve the history of the Manhattan Project. The photo will be a remembrance of this special day that the community can view for years to come.”
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