75 years ago, a desolate area not even 200 miles from El Paso saw one of the most pivotal moments in history.

The atomic bomb was first detonated at White Sands Missile Range, a mere 162 miles north of El Paso at a location known as the Trinity Site. In the early morning hours of July 16th, 1945, the bomb ... referred to as "the gadget" by its developers ... was detonated and mankind took a giant and violent step forward.

Hoisted atop a 100-foot tower, the plutonium device, or Gadget, detonated at precisely 5:30 a.m. over the New Mexico desert, releasing 18.6 kilotons of power, instantly vaporizing the tower and turning the surrounding asphalt and sand into green glass. Seconds after the explosion came an enormous blast, sending searing heat across the desert and knocking observers to the ground. The success of the Trinity test meant that an atomic bomb using plutonium could be readied for use by the U.S. military. energy.gov

And readied for use it was. Not even a month later, an "A-bomb" was built and detonated over the city of Hiroshima. 3 days later, another was dropped on Nagasaki and the Japanese surrendered almost immediately. World War II was over.

A ceremony was held at the site July 16th to mark the anniversary but, the site is typically closed to the public. It is only opened twice a year, once in April and once in October, so that visitors can tour the site, the home where the bomb was assembled and see the monument to the activities of that morning. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic the April date for this year did not happen and the October date probably won't either. Normally though, tours are arranged or, people can just drive themselves to the edge of White Sands Missile Range and then take shuttles to the actual site.