LISTEN TO MARTINEZ'S DIARY
APRIL 7, 2003 · When the war in Iraq began, so did another Code Orange alert. Across the country, people who are trained to be vigilant were told to be even more so. Gus Martinez is a ranger, who usually works at a national park in Alaska. But when the war started, he was called to help bolster security at what's known as an "icon" park, Mount Rushmore, in South Dakota. When it's Code Orange at Mt. Rushmore, the rangers work 12-hour days. They are more heavily armed than usual, they scan visitors through magnetometers, and check every vehicle that enters the park. Here is Martinez's War Diary entry.
Our mission is still the same, but our tools have changed. I'm carrying an AR15 assault rifle. I go back and I think about that... how are people feeling when they come up and they see me standing here? But it's interesting, a lot of visitors have actually said, 'Hey, you know, I feel a lot safer. Thanks, guys.' They understand that we have a mission to accomplish here as well as the folks in Iraq.
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