Kirk Douglas visits Richland in 1951

May 23, 2012 

Hanford was so important to the United States that it made Richland a destination point for many celebrities eager to do their part for the war effort, both World War II and Korea.

Big crowd at Richland bond fete Big crowd at Richland bond fete

Published on May 7, 1951
By The Tri-City Herald staff

It was a big day yesterday for Patricia Hogan, student at Richland's Spalding school.

She was a winner in an essay contest on "What My Country Means To Me." So Pat Hogan was introduced to a huge crowd in Richland's park by a big, handsome Hollywood star named Kirk Douglas.

While Douglas and a general just back from Korea, top brass of the Hanford project and other officials listened respectfully; Patricia read her essay to the crowd. Then Douglas gave her a war bond as prize and she walked smiling back to the normal life of a little girl in grade school.

Other Richland winners in the essay contest given bonds by Douglas were Leslie Blackwell, Columbia High School and Lenora Meyers, Carmichael Junior High School.

Patricia Hogan's big moment came during a "Defenders For Freedom" celebration sponsored for the atomic city by the U.S. Treasury Department. It was in honor of Richland being the (only city in the) nation to achieve 100 per cent payroll savings participation among the merchants.

The celebration started at 10 a.m. with a parade under the supervision of Maj. W. C. Mac Brayne, chief marshal. Bands from Columbia high School and Carmichael Junior High School as well as the famous high school band from Sunnyside provided music for the march.

About 300 troops from Camp Hanford, under the command of Lt. Col. Sanford J. Butler, swung down George Washington Way to lead the parade. The Army's drum and bugle corps and color guards were in the group. Delegations from Yakima, Toppenish, Prosser, Sunnyside, Dayton, Pasco and Kennewick took part in the parade.

The spotlight then shifted to Riverside park where Douglas was master of ceremonies. Top Hanford officials were introduced and then Gloria Elixson, national champion baton twirler from the University of Washington, gave an exhibition.

Brig. Gen. Charles J. Bondley, Jr., commanding general of an air force division just back from Korea, told the crowd that Communism has kindled a flame in Korea that could burst into World War III at any moment.

"All of us in Korea thought we had won the victory in November," the general said. "Then the Chinese intervened and showed that Korea was just a pawn in the Communist's overall program."

He warned that "as soon as the United States government ceases to be the main interest of the citizens, we are lost." He said if the Americans fail in their fight for freedom at home, they will also fail abroad.

William C. H. Lewis, treasury department director for Washington, presented the achievement flag to Jack J. Wilson, Benton County defense bond chairman, who headed up Richland's defense bond work. Then Wilson and Beverly Richie, representing Miss Richland, hoisted the flag.

The flag raising ceremony was capped by the roar of 16 jet fighter planes from Larsen Air Force Base. They zoomed at 1000 feet over the park at a speed of almost 500 miles an hour.

A crowd-pleasing feature of the jet flights was the air to ground communication system. Douglas and the leader of the two squadrons "talked back and forth" during the air show much to the crowd's delight.

Richland winners in the defense bond poster contest were Howard Brandt and Robert Gullen, students at Marcus Whitman School.

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