History: Looking back on Rocky Flats

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In times of war, everyone has a part to play, from fighting on the front lines to building weapons parts and supplies.

Each individual has a story.

And for many former workers at Rocky Flats, their stories are now being told.

To honor those who were nuclear weapons workers and uranium miners during the Cold War, the Rocky Flats Institute and Museum and the Cold War Patriots held a celebration Oct. 25 at 5690 Webster St.

The event, which was held as part of the National Day of Remembrance, acted as the launch for the museum’s new exhibit, “I Remember Rocky: Rocky Flats History Retold, 1951-1959.”

This exhibit examines the story of Rocky Flats from the worker’s perspective, and is part of a larger concept to share the history of the nuclear weapons plant from all angles.

“They lived extraordinary lives,” Executive Director of Rocky Flats Institute and Museum Conny Bogaard said. “They were workers inside the fence, and then when they left, they had to become part of the community.”

Focusing on the construction and production era, the exhibit will feature more than 100 interviews with workers, letters, testimonies and photographs from former workers among other artifacts.

“You could pick up a magazine and learn all about Rocky Flats, but I get to read these letters and learn about these people,” said Teresa Wells, a volunteer with the museum. “I am able to share a little about these individuals lives who were involved in all things with Rocky Flats.”

For many former workers, talking about Rocky Flats wasn’t an option. They weren’t allowed to talk about the work they did or about what was happening behind the walls at Rocky Flats, but many felt their work was important and now they want the public to know about it.

“We did our part to help win the Cold War, and it’s important that people understand it,” said Jack Weaver, former Rocky Flats worker and a co-curator of the exhibit.

Through the exhibit, the public will be able to see what life was like both inside and outside of Rocky Flats. Looking at the history from the workers’ perspectives offers the public an uncommon glimpse into the organization, the community and the family that was Rocky Flats.

“It was my home away from home,” Weaver said. “We would cover each other’s backs, take care of one another; it was a family.”

The exhibit will run through March and is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday.

“I think it’s very important to draw attention to the workers,” Bogaard said, “... they’re the only ones who know what it was like.”

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