Twenty months after the last of the munitions was safely, it not routinely, destroyed, that remains a remarkable feat.
To get there required the experience and diligence of trained professionals. Undoubtedly at the top of that list are those who performed the dangerous work at Anniston’s incinerator, which won’t be completely razed until next year. Without their skill, our stockpile would still be lounging inside the igloos at Anniston Army Depot.
We’d be remiss, however, if we didn’t add to that list the employees of Anniston Chemical Activity, the caretakers, if you will, of those stored weapons. With no more weapons to safeguard and transport to the incinerator, their work is finished. The agency’s closing ceremony was held Tuesday.
This community owes that agency and its employees deep gratitude for a job well done. Calhoun County is a better place to live now that those Cold War-era weapons have been safely eliminated.
Grant that this is a bittersweet time for the 50 or so remaining employees of Anniston Chemical Activity, which once employed three times that many. Their plight is similar to those former and current incinerator workers whose jobs have, or will, come to an end. That the process of destroying Anniston’s stockpile always had an end date — a time when their jobs would no longer be needed — doesn’t make the chore of searching for work any easier.
In our eyes, these men and women are a solid part of the legacy that is Anniston’s quest to rid itself of chemical evils. They should be proud of what they accomplished and of how they helped Anniston shed much of its unfair and overly dramatic toxic reputation.
To those employees, consider this a thank you from all of Calhoun County. You earned it.