subscribe: Posts | Comments | Email

Rocky Flats – Personal Stories

The Story of Kristen Haag

Posted by on Jul 17, 2012 in Personal - Rocky Flats, Personal Stories | 1 comment

“I’m writing to you about the story in Full Body Burden of Kristen Haag, the young girl who died of cancer. Kris was my daughter’s best friend.
The year Kris died was also the year my husband, my four children and I moved from our home in Ralston Estates just off W. 64th Ave. and west of Oberon Road.  Rocky Flats was nearly in our back yard.  My daughter Becki was crushed when we told her we were moving to Missouri, as was Kris.  Becki had told me that Kris had a sore leg and how badly she felt for Kris.  The day before we were to move, Kris spent the night with Becki. The next morning I took them both to a store at Arvada Square and let them purchase gifts to give each other as a remembrance.  As we were walking through the store, Kris had to sit down halfway down the aisle. I  was alarmed and asked her if she was ok – she told me she was, but that her leg bothered her and that she just had to rest. They bought heart necklaces and gave each other half of the heart charm on their necklace and we went home. Becki cried for hours after she told Kris good-bye.

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

All Night Vigil At Rocky Flats

Posted by on Jul 17, 2012 in Personal - Rocky Flats, Personal Stories | Comments Off

“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.

We Are All “Hibakusha”

Posted by on Jul 17, 2012 in Personal - Rocky Flats, Personal Stories | Comments Off

“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 Know Two People With Cancer Traced To Plutonium

Posted by on Jul 17, 2012 in Personal - Rocky Flats, Personal Stories | Comments Off

“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

My Father Never Talked About It

Posted by on Jul 17, 2012 in Personal - Rocky Flats, Personal Stories | Comments Off

“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

Making Stringless Yoyos

Posted by on Jul 17, 2012 in Personal - Rocky Flats, Personal Stories | Comments Off

“My father must have been one of the first guards hired at Rocky Flats in 1952, shortly after my birth.  We moved to Arvada in 1957 to the Hutchinson Homes [subdivision] just about a block east of the McDonalds restaurant.  We went to church at the Presbyterian Church on the top of the hill across from the cemetery.  I was a 9th grader at Oberon Junior High the first year it opened, and my best friend and I wrote the school fight song.
Before long Dad became a chemical operator.  Of course, he couldn’t tell us what he did at work – he always joked about making stringless yoyos and straw hats.  As I got a little older I became aware of recurring security checks conducted with some of our neighbors.  When I was in high school, I got involved in local politics and I know it made Dad nervous that I might get wrapped up in something that would jeopardize his security clearance.  I started college the fall after the 1969 fire, and I was aware by then that they were working with radioactive materials (more…)

“So Many Have Been Affected, Yet So Little Speak Out”

Posted by on Jul 17, 2012 in Personal - Rocky Flats, Personal Stories | Comments Off

“There’s a documentary entitled Dark Circle, produced in 1982. Dark Circle primarily focuses on Rocky Flats and its hidden secrets, and also explores the wider cover-up of nuclear energy in general. My grandfather was featured in the documentary, which is why I’m so familiar. I watch it every so often and each time, the cover-up of the hidden dangers never ceases to amaze me. My grandfather, like so many others exposed to nuclear dangers, passed away in 1989, due to leukemia contracted by the exposure (of course the government denies the involvement) . . . I know so many people have been affected, yet so little speak out.”
–A reader in Colorado

The “Trigger” Was The Bomb

Posted by on Jul 16, 2012 in Personal - Rocky Flats, Personal Stories | Comments Off

“I grew up in northwest Arvada with the glow of the Rocky Flats perimeter fence lights out of my bedroom window (74th and Simms by Oberon Junior High, graduated from Arvada West in 1986).  Most of my neighbors and friend’s fathers worked at Rocky Flats (or Coors!) and I heard all the same euphemisms: “they just make the triggers.” In college physics I realized that the “trigger” was the bomb; and perhaps its most dangerous part. I swam in the same lakes and canals!  I am fascinated by this subject and my own history as well.”
–former Colorado resident now living in Minnesota