Bomber Mascot Crisis
Issue # 6 ~ 07/30/01
Editor's Note:

Submissions which do not pertain to the subject matter of
this newsletter -- the nickname and mascot of Richland
High School -- are getting out of hand.  Consequently, I
shall no longer consider such material for publication.

Richard Anderson (60) -- Editor, Mascot Crisis
Today's comments submitted by:

Hugh Hinson (52), Dave Henderson (60WB)
Rose Boswell (61), A Pentad of Sonderlands (62+)
Pam Pyle (69)
>>From: Hugh Hinson (52)

To: Ralph Myrick (51)

Ralph, great piece you wrote about the Bomber Mascot.  I
am with you and we all should be damn proud to be

-Hugh Hinson (52)
>>From: Dave Henderson (60WB)

I have been following, for these past weeks, all the
articles written about the history, and tradition of the
name "BOMBERS".

Like many of you, I too am baffled why this younger
generation needs to rewrite history so it is more
palpable.  As a child of a different era, I understand
why our leaders took the only logical approach to ending
the W.W.II.

As for Richland's role in the cold war.  It's fair to say
that by the early 1960's, enough plutonium had been
manufactured, at the Hanford Atomic Energy Works, that
Hanford was no longer vital to national security.

So, in a spirit of cooperation between the generations,
I have undertaken a search for a new mascot, using this
generation's "kinder, gentler, approach" criteria.

For starters,  I looked to the original RHS mascot name
of "BEAVERS".  But I rejected it as a beaver destroys the
environment: by cutting down trees; damning up rivers,
which kill off fish spawning grounds; and flooding vast
areas of a forest.  No, we cannot let the beaver
represent Richland as it is far too destructive.

Then I looked at tigers, lions, wolves, and bears as
possible candidates for our new mascot.  But I realized
that they are all carnivorous animals: they live by
eating the flesh of other living creatures.  NO!  NO!  We
cannot expose our youth to such violent creatures.

Oh my!  Our school board leaders have to be very careful
when selecting a new mascot.  Who knows when some
student, high on twinkies, will try to shoot up the
school because he over-identified himself as a tiger.

Then fate stepped in the other night, and delivered the
answer.  While watching the Discovery Channel I saw a
documentary about a worm that lives in Australia.  This
species of worm grows to over 6 feet in length (now that
IS big).  All this worm does is burrow through the soil
eating dead leaves and grass all day long.  The byproduct
from all his eating does nothing but enrich the soil.

I jumped with excitement as I realized that this is the
new mascot for Richland High School.  How could anybody
be against a creature as kind and gentle as a worm?  The
students would grow up un-traumatized by the "BOMBER"

I propose that we alumni vigorously approach the Richland
school board with the idea of throwing out the bomb and
replacing with the worm.  Why, I have already started
working on some new cheers:

Give me a "W"
Give me an "O"
Give me an "R"
Give me an "M"
We are WORMS!

Offered with tongue in cheek.

-Dave Henderson (60WB) -- from sunny and warm (80s)
                          San Jose, California.
>>From: Rose Boswell Smith (61)

All I can say is, "Nuke 'Em!"

-Rose Boswell Smith (61)
>>From: A Pentad of Sonderlands (62+)

We are Richland Bombers forever: John(62), James(64),
      David(66), Roger(76), and Craig(78) Sonderland.

>>From: Pam Jewett-Bullock (nee Pyle '69)

First with sadness, then with measures of pride and
dismay, I am reading the daily entries by fellow alums on
the subject of our Richland Bomber name and mascot.  My
sadness is born in the apparent recurring desires of some
in our midst who wish to revise our nation's history by
censuring some aspect or symbol of its reality,
dismissing same as potentially offensive (that is, not
"politically correct") to an individual or group of
individuals.  (Speaking of reality, the term "politically
correct" is, at best, an oxymoron.)  These revisionist
desires are neither new nor unique, themselves a very
real and integral aspect of the history of a nation
founded on free thinking and speech.  Here, in Virginia,
and in others of the Southeastern United States, on
similar premises, we often hear from those who would
censure, retire, or otherwise remove from public display
and study another very real symbol of our history -- the
Confederate flag.  One group calls it an offensive symbol
of racial discrimination and slavery, while another names
it a great symbol of the fight for individual states'
rights.  In either event, it is a very real symbol of our
historic past.

The pride I feel in reading your entries is born of the
enormous demonstration of civil debate among well-
educated, intelligent adults whose ages span several
generations.  No name-calling or pettiness obvious here;
rather, the considered, well-reasoned opinions of free-
thinking men and women whose gifts for prose and poetry
clearly originated within an outstanding elementary and
secondary school system.  In a nation plagued by the
problems in today's public education system, this begs
the question: apart from its name and mascot quandaries,
are RHS and its tributary schools today turning out
graduates as well-prepared for the intellectual chores of
citizenship as those represented in these entries?  Are
those graduates assuming and exercising, with pride and
the same sense of absolute and duty, their right and
responsibility to participate fully in our political
processes?  How many are running for office, writing
letters to elected officials, holding public service or
military jobs, or going to the polls to vote?  Clearly,
these are rhetorical questions; nonetheless, I can't help
but ask, if for no other reason than because I believe
those issues to be of greater national import to be named
"crisis" than is the question of a name or mascot.

It is here that I will state, clearly and emphatically,
that I am not in favor of any move to change our high
school name or remove its symbolic mascots, the bomb
shell and mushroom cloud.  To me, these are, first,
symbols of the lifestyle, community, and school system in
which I was raised.  They remain an enormous source of
personal pride.  A former Pep Club member, I displayed
them on my uniform and lost my voice in many a loud,
raucous Bomber cheer; in mind at the time was winning a
football game (oh, that we could have won those a little
more often!) or scoring the basket that would take us,
one more time, "On To State!"  Some years later, how
could one feel anything other than pride at being counted
among a group such as these writers here represented?
Not a perfect society, by any stretch; but, clearly, they
are a group of diverse personalities so filled with
passion for the real symbols of their historic past that
they are moved to intelligent written expression of their
opinions about what was yesterday and might be tomorrow.

I also earlier mentioned feeling a measure of dismay in

reading these entries about the controversy at hand.  No
matter how I "stack it," I just can't accept with any
level of comfort what I see as inflammatory and divisive
editorial bylines such as "Bomber Mascot Crisis" and
"Keep the faith!  Nuke 'em!"   As previously mentioned, I
do not view this controversy as anything remotely
resembling crisis potential.  The outcome is not, in my
opinion, critical to anybody's survival -- not to my
fellow alums, not to me, and not to the current or future
students in my hometown.  It's an important controversy,
one about which I have enough passion to express an
opinion.  And, I am particularly sorry and concerned
about the offense waged against the obviously well-
intentioned Roy Ballard and his helpers; whether
intentional or not, this is an unfortunate and troubling
turn of events which I hope the Richland School Board can
find a way to mend with Roy and his helpers.  But it just
ain't a crisis.  Second, and lots more importantly, I do
not associate "keeping faith" with "nuking" anybody.
That particular by-line is infinitely more offensive to
me than the notion of a bombshell or mushroom cloud
mascot, for it is wildly out-of-step with -- and seems to
me to cheapen and minimize the credibility of -- the
carefully expressed opinions thus far reflected in the
publication and the outstanding display of commitment and
responsibility our editor gives so passionately in his
daily efforts to bring the entries to us.  With the
utmost respect and gratitude for his passion and his
efforts, I ask our editor to re-think those by-lines.

Always a Bomber,
-Pam Jewett-Bullock (nee Pyle '69)

PS -- Am sending a blind copy of this opinion [i.e., the
e-mail to the newsletter --ed] to my son,
Christopher, an Ensign currently assigned to Naval
Surface Warfare Officer School in Newport, RI, as I
continue to believe it important to stimulate his
thinking about education, citizenship, civility, and
public responsibility.
That's it for today.  Keep the faith!  Nuke 'em!
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