Editor’s Note: Tuesday on the NewsHour, special correspondent Kathleen McCleery reports from south central New Mexico on the 70th anniversary of the first nuclear bomb test, and why one group — called the Downwinders — isn’t celebrating.
At 5:29:45 a.m. Mountain Time on July 16, 1945, a 19-kiloton explosion was set off that would portend the end of World War II. Today, the site of the world’s first atomic bomb test is a National Historic Landmark. The 51,500-acre Trinity Site in south central New Mexico sits on the White Sands Missile Range, where government and private tests are still conducted.
The Trinity Site is open to the public twice a year, once in April and once in October. The PBS NewsHour, along with several other media organizations, were given a private tour allowing our cameras to capture Ground Zero — where the bomb was detonated — and the McDonald ranch house where the scientists assembled the plutonium core.