Veteran’s Day holds special place in the hearts of many. In all of Santa Fe’s history one defining event during World War II reverberates even today. The Manhattan Project military checkpoint was located just off the Plaza at 109. E. Palace Avenue. It was there that military personnel, scientists, contractors, janitors, and everyone involved with the creation of the world’s first atomic bomb had to register. The only address for the Manhattan Project was P.O. Box 1663, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Remnants of war have defined the history of Santa Fe since its founding. In 1610 the Presidio de la Santa Cruz featured a large military barracks and horse corrals adjacent to the Palace of the Governors. A military chapel, La Castrense, for the soldiers became the south side of the plaza. In 1846, the U.S. Army built Fort Marcy at the western end of the Santa Fe Trail. Named after Secretary of War William Marcy, it was the first United States Army fort in New Mexico. The Mormon Battalion monument 25 miles from Santa Fe is a memorial to the only religion-based squadron in the history of the U.S., which entered Santa Fe in 1846 with Brig. Gen. Stephen Watts Kearny.
A battle of the American Civil War 20 miles from Santa Fe took place at Glorieta on March 28, 1862. Thirty-six years later, in 1898, volunteers from the area became part of a new war. These soldiers became Roosevelt’s Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War. Teddy Roosevelt was the Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1898. He left that post to organize the 1st Volunteer Army Calvary, which was nicknamed “the Rough Riders.” This diverse group of men comprised Native Americans, cowboys, miners, gamblers, military veterans, and police officers. Their mission was to fight against Spain over dominance in Cuba. This group was chosen from the Southwest in the belief that they would be more acclimated to the hot weather in Cuba.