Wonder if your dad could not tell you what his job was and where he worked? Wonder if you never discovered the truth until you yourself were 42 years old? Wonder if that job were connected to a secret underground city? Wonder…
Growing up in Virginia within an hour from the nation’s capital, the girl with the father with the secret job was I. My dad said that he could not tell me where he worked or what he did. He further stated that my mom did not know this information either. If anyone asked, I was just to tell that the job was termed classified. I did know that every few years he had to be fingerprinted by the FBI…so did he work for them? As time went by, I discovered that most of the fathers in our neighborhood had these same classified jobs and worked on the mountain. Which mountain…we lived in the Shenandoah Valley surrounded by the Blue Ridge and the Appalachian Mountains. After awhile, my pretty little head did not think a thing about it.
Growing up in the 1960s, screen hero James Bond was cutting quite the figure with his swagger and Agent 007 identity. As a teenager when people asked me what my dad did, I started to reply that he worked with Bond, James Bond. They gave me rolled eyeball looks as teenagers often will and walked on…no more questions.
About thirty years later, I was riding in the car with my parents to my uncle’s funeral that was four hours away. My dad handed me a copy of Time magazine. “Here read this, and find out what my job was,” he declared. As I looked through the copy, I saw black and white pictures of President Eisenhower standing in a room with many men. I swear one of the men was my dad. (It was not.) My dad was part of a secret/classified government agency that would scoop up the president in the case of a nuclear attack. The president and his men would be taken to a mountaintop called Mount Weather. This facility was a 600,000 square foot underground “city” that housed a hospital, communications center, and a war room along with other services. At planned intervals, there would be practice drills as if that red button had been pushed or we were being attacked. The reason all the dads lived in the same neighborhood was that they could all be rounded up and taken by bus to the secret site if an attack were real. During the Eastern Seaboard blackout in the fall of 1965, the government thought that we were under attack…the fathers were all gathered up. The code name for this plan was “Operation Doomsday”.
In the early 1990s, this information became de-classified. At last, all the dads could explain to their wives and children what their jobs were. No, my dad did not work with James Bond, but he did see Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson. Thank you to all those lived under the cloak of secrecy to protect us.