My entire childhood was full of stories about the western frontier and life in the Northwest; mesmerizing stories about a boy named Bev, his best friend George and an endless number of fascinating scenes from their lives. All those wonderful tales were related to us by our father at our Sunday noon dinners. I want my reader to share in what is America's rich heritage through this captivating story. This story takes a clear look at how things once were and how they are today. A world apart.
The clock has struck, waking me from a semi- conscious state of ignoring the little-known story of an obscure, out of the way village called Hanford in the State of Washington, sitting alone in the Columbia Valley next to The River while the government was secretly planning to build nine reactors in order to develop plutonium. Plutonium, fuel for the atomic bomb.
Many people believe America was morally right in developing and using the atomic bomb despite the hundreds of thousands of casualties, not least this brave pioneering community on the banks of the Columbia. This book deals with the history of that development.
My story begins in 1907 in this newly settled town next to the mighty Columbia and terminates abruptly, cruelly with the entire population, some of them still the original settlers, being evicted from their beloved, well-taken care of land in 1943, and left to fend for themselves.
Today, Hanford is one of the most contaminated tracts of real estate in the world, affecting the surrounding land, water, wildlife and the Columbia River – which could be a rich resource, but is causing serious health problems to many. An enormous clean-up is underway costing the American public billions of dollars. The leakage of nuclear waste material into the ground water and the river is a constant and fearful threat. In addition, the horrific problem of the waste material lying dormant underground for so many years is a real danger.
There is no one else alive to tell my story, and I think America – and the rest of the world – is owed a chance to learn about Hanford of today and what was set up on their precious land. This story is the American people's legacy.