Fireman search for bodies in twisted wreckage of the Thiokol plant in Woodbine on Feb. 4, 1971. Credit: Charles Bennett/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Fifty years after an explosion claimed the lives of 30 people at the Thiokol munitions manufacturing plant in Woodbine, a nonprofit is calling on Georgia’s U.S. Congressional representatives to formally honor the lives of those workers.

Most killed in the explosion on the morning of Feb. 3, 1971, were poor, Black women who perished while making trip flares to help soldiers fight the Vietnam War. Despite the magnitude of the explosion and loss of life, the tragedy has not been part of the historical narrative of Camden County, The Current reported earlier this year.

The Thiokol Memorial Project, led by Jannie Everette, operates a small museum downtown Kingsland that is devoted to preserving and honoring the lives of the victims. She is the daughter of survivor Lucille Washington. The petition is designed to get the attention of Georgia’s U.S. Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock and it calls for the victims to be posthumously honored with the Congressional Gold Medal. The group contacted District 1 Rep. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter some time ago.

“They are the only contributors to the Vietnam War that have not been honored for their service to this nation and humanity,” according to the Thiokol Memorial Project’s online call-to-action. “They have not been honored as the pioneers of the Modern American Workplace.”

The honor requires cosponsorship by at least two-thirds (290) U.S. House members and 67 U.S. Senators.

The online petition can be found at http://thiokolmemorial.org/petition/. To sign it, donate or comment, click on “Add Your Voice,” which redirects to a form on www.change.org.

The Tide brings regular notes and observations on news and events by The Current staff.

Laura Corley is an investigative reporter who has covered public safety and government and education in her home state of Georgia since 2014. At The (Macon) Telegraph, Laura used open records requests...