Bomber Mascot Crisis
Issue # 8 ~ 08/01/01
Today's comments submitted by:

Mike Bradley (56), Martie Wade (57)
Missy Keeney (59), Lee Bond-Upson (63)
Chuck Monasmith (65), Kim Edgar (79)
Aaron Johnson (82)
>>From: Mike Bradley (56)

To Kim Edgar Leeming (79):

You said it all.  I agree with you 100%.

-Mike Bradley (56)
>>From: Marian "Martie" Wade Jenkins (57)

I see nothing wrong with keeping the Bomb as our mascot.
If they want to get rid of it, they should also get rid
of all the fighter planes and stealth fighters positioned
at the entrance to many airports, cities, and towns.
Just how "politically correct" do we have to be?  These
represent pride in our country, patriotism, and show the
strength of our great United States.  Tell the school
board to go after the politicians for allowing these
fighting objects to be publicly displayed.  In God We

-Marian "Martie" Wade Jenkins (57)
>>From: Missy Keeney Baker (59)

When will you guys get the message??  No one -- I repeat,
NO ONE -- is suggesting changing the Bomber name!!

-Missy Keeney Baker (59)
>>From: Lee Bond-Upson (63)

I've been thinking about this, and find that I'm neither
proud nor ashamed to be a Bomber, but amused.  That is,
to have such a mascot is cool in a perverse way, and also
totally whack, as we've all found out when we tell
someone for the first time.

I think we might back off a bit and look the full reality
of our situation:

1.  The bomb did end the war in a hurry, sparing everyone
a God-awful invasion of the Japanese mainland, and

2.  Tens of thousands of innocent civilians died, some
horribly.  It's described in "Hiroshima Joe," by Martin
Booth, if you'd care to imagine just how horrible it was.

3.  Hanford played its part in creating the threat of
thermonuclear retaliation which may well have kept the
Soviet Union from being even more aggressive than it was,

4.  In the end, the Cold War and its fears were not good
for us.  They brought us the McCarthy hysteria, Viet Nam,
curtailing our freedoms, and excessive military
expenditure, to name a few regrettable outcomes.

5.  We (most of us) believe nuclear energy or something
like it (fusion, perhaps) is a good thing if it can power
the planet and not poison it.

6.  We are proud of our unique history, and

7.  We offend a lot of reasonable people by flaunting a
remarkably gruesome symbol of war.  For comparison, you
know what jellied gasoline does to people.  How would you
feel about some Dow Chemical company town having the
"Napalms" as its mascot?  No problem?  Oh.  Well, yes, I
suppose that too would be darkly amusing.  Personally,
I'd go anywhere to see the Bombers play the Napalms.

I think we feel besieged by outsiders' astonishment --
often coupled with disapproval -- that we should cling to
our mascot-relic, and so we hold on tighter than ever.  I
also think we've got in this brew a defense of nuclear
energy against unreasonable anti-nuclearism, thus keeping
hot something that might otherwise fade with the end of
the Cold War.  Shouldn't the half-life of something like
this be about one generation?

So I don't want to change the name and become ordinary,
but I do think that we can tell the world who we were --
and are -- not with defiance and ignoring other people's
feelings, but with the wry humor that comes from knowing
ourselves, and knowing the score -- the whole score.

-Lee Bond-Upson (63)
>>From: Chuck Monasmith (65)

In a recent discussion about the Bomb Mascot, a
comparison  was made to the Confederate battle flag.
While I believe flying the Confederate battle flag on a
state building is inappropriate, give me a more positive
comparison to our bomb.

The bomb symbol as RHS mascot represents the patriotic
fervor and "country before self" attitude of which my
parents were so proud.  The comparison to the Confederate
battle flag has really irked me and stymied my thinking
about the appropriateness of the bomb mascot.

Help me out here, won't you?

-Chuck Monasmith (65)
A Bomber through and through
>>From: Kim Edgar Leeming (79)

Could someone make sure the "Gift" (Bombshell) is sitting
in the RSD parking lot the night of the meeting; it might
make more of an impact as well as fuel the enthusiasm of
its supporters.

-Kim Edgar Leeming (79)
>>From: Aaron Johnson (82)

Re: Carolyn Schneider (81)

I have read with interest all the entries posted here, as
well as the letters to the editor of the Herald.  I like
to think I am tolerant of people's opinions; however,
the entry from Carolyn Schneider on Friday, the 27th did
capture my particular attention.

Carolyn, perhaps you didn't take time to consider your
words when you stated, "many of you seem to have a death
grip on an unimportant part of the past."  I hope you
forgive me if I am outraged at such careless dismissal of
a monumentally IMPORTANT part of the history of the human

Perhaps personal interaction with people who were of age
during that time, or a complete lack of knowledge of the
events of that time can be used to mitigate your

I was born many years after the events took place, so I
have no first-hand knowledge of the impact of "the Bomb".
I do have the advantage in that my mother moved to
Richland in 1944, and grew up here during her formative
years.  I have heard many stories of that time in
Richland.  And, having grown up here myself, I have more
than a passing knowledge of the sense of pride in
accomplishment older residents have for their
participation in that "unimportant" event.

More to the point however, I have studied the history of
WWII fairly well and, with the advantage of minoring in
Asian Studies in college, have had the opportunity to see
both sides of the war.  Even today, we as Americans would
be shocked at the revisionist textbooks used in Japan to
teach school children the history of that war.  As a
father, I try to instill in my children the lesson of
accepting responsibility for their actions, and the
resultant consequences of them.  This concept is totally
lost upon the Japanese.

We as Americans were forced out of our protectionist
stance on the world stage when we were attacked at Pearl
Harbor.  That new responsibility for the safety of people
outside our borders carries on today.  You would expect a
person passing the scene of an accident to stop and
render aid; or, if in a position of strength, to stop or
prevent an assault.  This is our responsibility as
Americans, just as it was then.  That was a monumental
turn-around in American policy, not an "unimportant"

Tens of thousands of documents were recovered after WWII
from the Japanese making it clear that defense of the
"home islands" was to be fought "to the last breath".
Anyone with a passing knowledge of the methods used by
the Japanese to suppress conquered peoples, and methods
used by their soldiers in the field, can surmise what
would have occurred had America been required to end the
war using traditional methods.  Was the atomic bomb a
horrendous instrument of war?  Without doubt.  Was it
unfortunate that this weapon needed to be developed in
the first place?  Again, without doubt.  Was it an
"unimportant" event in world history?  Try finding a
subject more written about than this one.

I hope everyone understands this is not an attack, and
certainly not upon one person.  I believe we should all
step back and, as with any decision facing us, try to
pull together all the information we can in order to make
an informed decision, before we raise the banners, rally
the troops, and let loose the dogs of war upon the
Richland School Board and Superintendent Semler.  I hope
when the dust clears, they are able to see that we are
not glorifying an instrument of mass destruction, but
rather paying homage to a piece of our history which can
not, and should not, be forgotten.

-Aaron Johnson (82)
That's it for today.  Keep the faith!  Nuke 'em!
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