The Trinity Site is where the Nuclear Age began at 5:29am on July 16, 1945, when the first atomic bomb was detonated. It is located in the Jornada del Muerto (Day of Death) Desert about 130 miles south of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Visiting this historic site has been on my bucket list for many years. Because it is located at the north end of the White Sands Missile Range, it is open to the public only two days each year — the first Saturday in April and the first Saturday in October.
Last October I flew to Albuquerque, rented a car and drove south to Socorro, where I spent the night. The Trinity Site was scheduled to open at 8am the next morning, but I decided to arrive around 10:30 so that I would miss the crowd.
I was in for a big surprise. I quickly reached a long line of cars, so long I could not see the end of it! When I came to a stop, I set one of my trip odometers to zero so I could find out how long the line was. When I reached the gate to the missile range 50 minutes later, the odometer read 1.9 miles! And I still had another 17 miles to go to reach the Trinity Site. But that went swiftly. The holdup was going through security to get into the missile range.
When I finally arrived at the site, I was amazed at the thousands of people who were there. I had no idea that so many people were even aware of the site or its significance.
My personal interest in it is rooted in the fact that my doctoral dissertation was in the academic fields of American Diplomatic History and International Law. The dissertation topic was about a specific aspect of World War II. So, it was only natural that I would want to visit the site.
But what about all the other people? Why were they there? It was mystifying to me because it is a well-known fact that most Americans are historically ignorant.
In that regard, I saw a TV show recently in which a reporter visited several college campuses and asked the students, “Who won the Civil War?” The answers were astounding:
- “Was that a war our nation was involved in?”
- “Are you talking about a war in this century?”
- “Are you talking about Syria?”
- “Sorry, but I’m not a history major.”
In a similar manner, I could ask, “Why is the Trinity Site important from a spiritual viewpoint?” And I doubt I could find many persons who could answer that question. And, consider these other questions:
- Why is the Trinity Site historically important?
- How important is it compared to other events in the 20th Century?
- Could it be classified as the most important event of the century?
- Does the event that took place at the Trinity Site have any spiritual significance, and, if so, what?
Incidentally, the site was given its name by J. Robert Oppenheimer who served as the chief supervising physicist during the development of the bomb. He was not a Christian. In fact, he was heavily involved in Hinduism. He later said that he got the idea of the name from a poem by John Donne.
To find the answer to these questions, let’s look at What Was the Greatest Event of the 20th Century?