Rocky Flats – Personal Stories
We hadn’t been in Missouri a week when Judy (Kris’ mom) called and said the doctors had just amputated Kris’ leg mid-thigh and that she had been diagnosed as having cancer. We were so shocked but glad they had gotten the cancer (or so we thought). Within 6 months to the day that Judy had called, she called again. Only this time to tell us that Kris had passed away. Becki was heart-broken, needless to say, and I was in a state of shock. Cancer had taken Kris so quickly.”
–From a former Colorado resident
“I remember an all- night vigil in the cold winter wind along the highway entrance to Rocky Flats. It must have been 1969 or 1970. I took the graveyard shift with a friend. We sat in our car in a small gravel lot adjacent to the entrance facing the highway. When we spotted headlights, we got out in the wind coming down off the mountains and took our protest sign from where it was wedged under the wheel of the car, then braced ourselves in the wind to be caught briefly in the headlights of the passing car. Some people honked in support. It was lonely out there until change of shift. We offered leaflets to the exiting workers and some of them even accepted them. One man got so preocupied with making a show of crumpling up his leaflet to throw away, he drifted forward and bumped the car in from of him. In general, the workers were hostile to our presence. We made our stand, but were dismissed as crackpots.”
–Brock Robinson, a reader in Colorado.
“I am surprised by the short-term memory of the Cold War. I was well aware of it growing up . . . I remember a teacher in the fourth grade disciplining us while reading KGB novels and telling us that “The Soviet Union’s got a missile pointed right at your back yard!” I never forgot that, and only recently came to understand the mentality for his comment with the vast relationship between Colorado and the military and weapons development. The protests at Rocky Flats in my high school days seemed like something “those Boulder people” did. It just did not really click what the “hoopla” was all about.
There were many specials in Japan about the one year anniversary of the three-part disaster: the findings, dangers of Fukushima, the people forced to leave the nearby areas, the many lost lives in the earthquake and tsunami, the people who are still without homes, jobs, security, and family. North of Fukushima in Iwate and Miyagi are people who are often on the back pages of the world news. Now, the debate continues (more…)
“I grew up in Arvada, so I am very familiar with Rocky Flats, but the going-ons there were always a mystery to me . . . As anxious as I am to read your book, I’m also apprehensive because I know of two people from my childhood who died from cancer that has been traced to exposure to plutonium from Rocky Flats (or so I’ve been told). My father lived for more than 40 years in Arvada and he died from brain cancer, but we think it’s genetic.”
–A reader in Colorado
“In the fall of 1955, my father started working at Rocky Flats. I graduated from Arvada High School in 1964. My father NEVER talked about his work at the plant. He started as a machinist, became a tool and die maker, and then a programmer. He worked there for over 35 years. After his death, my mom told me that he told her that a lot of the workers didn’t follow the posted safety instructions that he did religiously.”
–A reader in Illinois