Bomber Mascot Crisis
Issue # 5 ~ 07/28/01
Today's comments submitted by:

Anna Mae Dyken (Grandma Bomber)
Dick Epler (52), Teresa DeVine (64)
Deedee Willox (64), Janet Devine (69)
Dan Staringer (78)

>>From: Anna Mae Dyken (Grandma Bomber)

Lyle Dyken (my husband) -- a real Bomber since 1947 --
passed away on February 22 of this year.  He showed up in
school or any other designated place in support of the
Richland Bombers and their mascot (the bomb), and their
logo (the atomic plume).  If you want to know who had the
bumper stickers handed out and the stickers placed around
the gym -- well, now you know: it was Mr. Dyken (as all
of the kids called him).  Lyle was a veteran of World War
II and the Korean War -- he remembered Pearl Harbor, the
Normandy invasion, the fear of gunshot and mines in
Wonsan Harbor, and the Formosa Straits.  He knew what it
was all about to fight for our country.  He knew the true
meaning of patriotism and  respecting our flag; and yes,
the meaning of protecting our community -- along with our
school's mascot, the bomb; and the logo, the atomic

If any of our school officials or teachers strongly
oppose the use of our mascot or our logo, I suggest that
they simply keep still or move on.

-Anna Mae Dyken (Grandma Bomber)
>>From: Dick Epler (52)

Historians tell us that we ignore the lessons of history
at our peril.  What they don't always tell us is that we
rarely appreciate history until we've personally
experienced it in some significant way.  This may be one
of the reasons some Bombers wonder why others would want
to preserve our heritage by remembering the Atomic Bomb.
The obvious answer is that by truly understanding the
historical aspects of "The Last Great War" we hope to
avoid another.  But such "understanding" can take many
forms.  Those who want to forget the whole thing argue
that anything that awakens the hatred of war can't be
good, and so they advocate tolerance and understanding as
a way to avoid conflict ... and I agree ... to a point,
and providing we have the strength to deter aggression.
For one of the lessons of war is that there's nothing
that preserves the peace quite so well as the prospect of
aggression being met with annihilation.

War is very much a product of human nature, which seems
to have remained a constant over time.  We humans often
find ourselves wanting what someone else has (in the
interests of fairness), and there are two ways to get it:
we can earn it, or we can take it.  To the extent those
who have wealth make it attractive for someone else to
take it, conflicts and wars WILL happen.  And that is one
of the great lessons of war.

Some think wars are mostly the product of hate, bigotry,
and the like, but I disagree.  Hate and bigotry are what
keeps wars alive, but they are not the cause of war.
Waging war is very expensive and has to be financed.
Poor countries can't wage war no matter how much hate
their leaders generate.  On the other hand, national
leaders who want to maintain or increase their power tend
to view war, along with other options, as a simple
equation that evaluates the gain versus the losses.  Time
is also a factor.  Political pressures from within can
cause national leaders to gamble a bit.  The U.S. has
been known to bomb aspirin factories for just that
reason; fortunately the victim was a poor nation.

Before a war starts, there are many options for
preventing it; once begun, however, there is only one
option for ending it: you must destroy the enemy's will
to continue.  That's how we won WWII, and that's how
North Viet Nam won that war with us.  In the process,
many die, many lose everything and have to start over,
but many get rich too.  Those are the key lessons of
history that we are doomed to repeat if we don't learn
them sufficiently well.

-Dick Epler (52) - Mt. Vernon, OR
>>From: Teresa DeVine Knirck (64)

I think we may have a bit of an overreaction going on
here.  This situation with the bomb removal is about
school district policy -- simply said, because school
buildings belong to the District and are public places,
all modifications to those buildings, including painting,
installing, etc. must be approved, and this is usually
done by filling out a work order and submitting it.
This of course includes gifts -- such as the Day's Pay
mural on the outside of the gym.  So Dr. Semler is just
doing his job as the person hired by the School District
to enforce its policies.  It is not about Roy either --
he believed he did have the necessary permission.
Another issue is union work -- the district's maintenance
people, such as plumbers, carpenters, electricians, are
union and those of you who also belong to unions
understand that there are strict guidelines for union
work.  As far as I can tell, there is no plan to change
the Bomber name or mascot -- that is simply wild rumor.

-Teresa DeVine Knirck (64)
>>From: Mercedes (Deedee) Willox Loiseau (64)

To: Ralph Myrick (51)

You said it better than I ever could.  I agree with
everything in your entry of 7-27-01.  And, after seeing
the movie Pearl Harbor, I might add that the Japanese
were not concerned about women and children being killed
in their attack.  I'm so sick of politically correct
liberals trying to re-write history.  War is ugly!  No
matter how each side kills people, it's ugly. But there
will be no peace until the Prince of Peace.  Thanks again
for your entry.

-Mercedes (Deedee) Willox Loiseau (64)
>>From: Janet Devine Call (69)

I think it's not too difficult to figure out this whole
crisis isn't really about approval for the installation
of our beloved mascot.  Those in the politically-correct
camp are a little too zealous about appeasing the likes
of foreign delegations and screaming do-gooders.  None of
us can know what was *really* on the mind of the person
who ordered the bomb removed in such a destructive
fashion.  My rhetorical question is to ask whether they
could have the same ideas after reading accounts of
atrocities carried out by the Japanese on our Allied
soldiers in events such as the Bataan Death March?  Read
"My Hitch in Hell" by Lester Tenney, a Bataan Death March
survivor.  I guarantee you will come away with a
different perspective on the subject of political

On a side note, I don't ever remember learning in
history, government, or social studies classes much more
than a few sentences about Richland's place in the events
leading up to the mushroom cloud.  Do today's teachers do
much for enlightening their students about BOTH sides of
the end of WWII?  If I were a Richland resident, I would
want to make sure my School Board was overseeing a
comprehensive curriculum on this subject.  They seem to
be focusing a lot on their image to the outside world.
My husband was a teacher at Castle Rock High School a few
moons ago, and he couldn't EVER remember any controversy
whatsoever about their rocket mascot.  While I'm enjoying
reading all about this ridiculousness in Richland, let's
hope it ends with a whimper and true history reigns to
allow the wishes of the current and past Bombers.  I'm
focusing on the minds of the decision-makers to do the
right thing by us!!!  I hope they are looking at the BIG
PICTURE here!  This is a strange lesson we're

-Janet Devine Call, 1969 Bomber
>>From: Dan Staringer (78)

I have read, first with concern, then with sadness, the
many entries here that strongly support the supposed
necessity of dropping the bomb.  Many historians have
noted with striking evidence that Japan was on the verge
of surrender before the bombs were dropped and that the
United States knew this.  For a very fine summary of the
events leading up to Truman's decision to drop the bomb,
read <> and
<>.  For an extended
bibliography about the decision, I refer you to
<>.  For those
wishing to study the issue, there are many fine
references in this bibliography.

Conventional wisdom can, in many instances, fail to be
accurate after the passing of time.  Certainly, primarily
in the United States, the decision to drop the bomb is
supported as the absolute and only solution to ending the
war.  The decision to drop the bomb, I believe, had more
to do with the Soviet Union's entry into war with Japan
and a desire by the US military establishment to end the
war through a military solution rather than through
negotiated efforts.  Japan was sending peace overtures
through third parties -- particularly the Soviets --
during the summer of '45.  As historian and former Naval
officer Martin Sherwin summarized the situation, as
communicated in the article noted above, "The choice in
the summer of 1945 was not between a conventional
invasion or a nuclear war.  It was a choice between
various forms of diplomacy and warfare." (Martin Sherwin,
A World Destroyed, 1987 ed., pg. xxiv).  I will not go
into more detailed accounts here as the above links can
lead you to many books and historical archives that
provide much better analysis than I can ever hope to
provide in an abbreviated letter.

It is very difficult to see an event differently after
holding deep-seated opinions for many years.  When I was
younger, I believed that the bomb was an unconditional
good.  However, after reading accounts over the years
from learned historians and studying the evidence, I have
drawn a different conclusion.  I don't expect this will
change many minds of you who subscribe to this
newsletter, but my wish is that it will prompt some of
you to dig deeper into the subject matter and give it
more thought.

-Dan Staringer (78)
That's it for today.  Keep the faith!  Nuke 'em!
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