Bomber Mascot Crisis
Issue # 10 ~ 08/03/01
Today's comments submitted by:

Keith Maupin (47), Morgan Miller (53)
Jerry Martin (57), Missy Keeney (59)
John Adkins (62), Jim House (63)
Jerry Lewis (73), Marjo Vinther (77)
Aaron Johnson (82), Jenny Smart (87)
>>From: Keith Maupin (47)

To Chuck Monasmith (65),

The reference to the Rebel "Stars and Bars" was an
argument by analogy, and in many ways a good one.  Both
the bomb and the flag are strong symbols.  Both came out
of wars that totally involved the entire nation.  And
both continue to stir up strong emotions.

You seek evidence that the bomb is appropriate.  There
was no question if it was appropriate in 1945, when a
practice bomb became the Bombers' first mascot.  It is
certainly more appropriate than the bombers [B-17's] on
the mural.

The 393rd Bomb Squadron appropriately displays the
mushroom cloud (a derivative of the bomb) on its shoulder
patch.  The Air Force Academy displays a B-52 and four
fighter jets appropriately on its campus.  Many other
schools have adopted weapons as symbols used to generate
school spirit; schools such as "The Toledo Rockets", "The
Castle Rock Rockets", and "Jets", Sabers", "Rifles", and
"The Gettysburg Bullets".

"The Gettysburg Bullets" were founded in 1924, sixty
years after the battle in which there were 48,000
casualties.  Their campus is quite near the hallowed
battleground.  The school is affiliated with the Pacific
Lutheran Conference and stresses the importance of strong
moral convictions.

What appears to be a paradox is resolved when one
understands that a symbol is not what it resembles, but
rather what it stands for.  "The Bullets" are not
ammunition and "The Bomb" is not a weapon -- it is a
symbol, a totem, an icon, used as a rallying point, used
to generate spirit and to focus allegiance.

-Keith Maupin (47)

[Ed Note: Keith is author of the privately published "The
BOMBER, The BOMB, And The BOMBERS" (Feb 7, 2001); copies
of which are available at the Richland Public Library.
The subject matter is the origin of "Bombers" as the
Nickname/Mascot of Columbia (Richland) High School.]
>>From: Morgan Miller (53)

Subject: Letter to Superintendent Semler

Dear Mr. Semler;

I am a 1953 graduate of Columbia High School. I have not
been back in the area since graduation when I enlisted in
the armed forces during the Korean War.

In the past forty-eight years I have traveled and lived
in many parts of the United States. During those forty-
eight years I have been involved with many high schools,
through my ministry, raising of my four children and my
eight grandchildren. In all those years I have never seen
a school that has had the pride in a school and itís
traditions as the students and alumni of Columbia High

You will find Alumni all over the United States and all
of them are proud to have graduated from Richland. The
Bomb as our mascot is something that we are very proud
of. Students came to Richland from all over the United
States during the major construction and the activation
of the plant, some left and others settled in your area,
but all have a bond that you may not realize. I was at a
large gathering in Tampa Florida some years ago, and
there was a vender who had a very large collection of
memorabilia badges on display and right in the middle of
the display was a three inch green and gold Richland
Bomber badge. It sure brought back great memories.

Please consider the thousands of alumni and the multitude
of students who will be attending Richland High School in
the future before you make your decision. The alumni have
served and fought for our country to uphold the
constitution and traditions of the greatest country in
the world. Thank you for your consideration in this

Rev. Morgan Miller (53)
Richland Bomber 
Pensacola, Florida

-Morgan Miller (53)
>>From: Jerry Martin (57)

If the school board stayed up all night for a month they
couldn't come up with a more pathetic excuse for why the
Bombers shouldn't retain the history of their parents and
the generations of Bombers that have attended the grand
school of Richland High.  I would assume that the Board
Members and the Superintendent were either absent from
the history classes taught at their school or just failed
them.  I would hate to see someone try to take down the
Statue of Liberty because France didn't like us anymore.
Or maybe we should forget that there really was a "Pearl
Harbor", "Nazi concentration camps", or better yet, let's
just forget the whole darn WWII.

I don't think that Viet Nam was a politically correct
police action either.  So we should forget Danny Neth and
all the other brave Bombers who gave their lives and are
part of the Bomber history?

My parents ran the Hi-Spot Club for many years and were
so proud of the Bomber name, the history and traditions
that were founded at Hi-Spot and the school.  I know for
a fact that they would be in your face on August 14,
2001, to ask you how you would ever, in your wildest
dreams, question the presence of the bomb at a basketball
game, or at a Hi-Spot dance.  My father (deceased) would
ask you and the other members of the school board, what
right do you have to devalue the traditions and history
of the Alumni of the Richland Bombers?  I ask you the
same question, as a graduate of the Great Class of 1957
Bombers.  I respectfully expect an answer.

-Jerry Martin (57)
>>From: Missy Keeney Baker (59)

I guess I stand corrected.  Please forgive me and
continue with your frenzy!!

-Missy Keeney Baker (59)
>>From: John Adkins (62)


There is a supply of Green and Gold Printed signs --
large enough to be staked in your front yard --
proclaiming "SAVE THE BOMB".

If you want one call me (I am listed in the Tri-Cities
phone book).  Today (Friday) I will probably be home most
of the afternoon.

If you feel "moved to do so", you may feel free to make a
contribution to offset the cost of having these yard
banners printed.  If you want one mailed to you -- I will
ask that you pay the postage.

John Adkins (62) ~ Richland
>>From: Jim House (63)

While attending Col-Hi I don't recall even thinking about
the origin of "Bombers".  I liked the airplane on our
cheerleaders' jackets and I loved seeing them present the
bomb at assemblies and games.  (OK, admittedly I would
have loved the cheerleaders even if they wore propellers
on their hats.)  But the cloud on our class ring and our
graduation announcement made us unique.  If Miss Brown
taught me right, that means we are one of a kind and very
special.  As years go by that becomes even more evident.
That is certainly how I feel about our school.

I was sorry to recently learn that a classmate always
hated the cloud.  It never occurred to me that OUR Bomber
symbols would be viewed as a celebration of killing.  I
am certain that most Bombers, especially fellow Richland
veterans who also answered the call to duty, did not and
do not intend to glorify killing in any form or for any

To some, the U.S. Flag represents a massacre in My Lai in
1968 and the Confederate Flag represents racism today.
People should not assume those are evil symbols if they
do not know WHY they are being displayed.

I have no trouble explaining our name or symbols at my
office or at the grocery store.  To me, they represent a
special school with a special spirit and many very dear
friends, and nothing else.  Yes, Miss Brown, we are unique.

The plane, the bomb, and the cloud are my birthmarks that
cannot be removed, even by the Richland School Board.

-Jim House (63) ~ Houston, TX
>>From: Jerry Lewis (73)

'Crisis'?  Really?  I'd reserve the word for something
more threatening than a teapot tempest about the
placement of a 'statue'.  But I may be missing something
since I don't have time to read 18K or so of daily
discussion on the topic.

-Jerry Lewis (73)
>>From: Marjo Vinther Burt (77)

Kathie Moore (69) mentioned some gifts that have been
given to the Bombers before that haven't required
approval.  I think, maybe, that the difference in this
situation is that this was a large, heavy, tall object
that was bolted to the ground inside a facility where
lots of people walk around.  In that case, I can
understand why there would need to be a more formal
review and approval process -- for safety and building
code reasons.  Anyone of you who has ever worked at
Hanford knows that you can't put nothin' nowhere without
getting everyone's approval first, especially if you're
going to bolt it to the ground!  Hopefully that's all it
is.  Of course, since school is out right now, there was
really no dire need to cut the bomb out before the 8/14
meeting either.  That made no sense at all!  Anyway, I'm
hoping this is all a big misunderstanding.  I guess we'll
find out on the 14th!

And to Aaron Johnson (82) -- you said it perfectly!

-Marjo Vinther Burt (77)
>>From: Aaron Johnson (82)

To: Carolyn Schneider (81)

I'm sorry, I wasn't aware I had written anything
regarding the "threat of losing the beloved Bomber name."

As to "I believe this issue has nothing to do with
history itself but merely a school name," perhaps you
still don't get it.  Where do you suppose the name
"Bombers" came from?  It was based upon a historical
event!  Upon finding out the role they had played upon
the historical stage, and the subsequent pride felt by
the residents from that part, they promptly changed the
name of the mascot.  Could I perhaps make it any clearer
that this issue has everything to do with history, and
nothing to do with our ability to "move on"?

I don't feel (and my personal mailbox is full of Bombers
who've written me telling me I'm right) that I was raving
on and on.  If the other alumni are raving, perhaps it's
because the issue is near and dear to their hearts, and
you have absolutely no right whatsoever attacking them
for their passion.  Many of these people you have
attacked suffered personal hardship, loss of loved ones,
and deadly illness from the period of time you so
heartlessly termed "unimportant".

As to your statement "I would have no attachment to it",
I ask the question: then why do you write into an
internet newsletter which celebrates the pride in the
name "Bombers"?  If you have so successfully "moved on,
as I've had to do with many MANY things and people in my
life" why are you on this page at all?  I personally am
saddened that you've been able to "move on" and "let go"
of what you describe as a vast number of things and
people.  I may be able to continue on with my life very
happily after the few losses I've suffered, but I
certainly don't forget those people by "letting go".
Those people and things are what has shaped me as a
person, and dictate in many ways how I conduct myself as a
person now and in the future.  Such bitterness is truly
saddening.  Please refrain from subjugating us here with
this bitterness; you've made your point that you don't
care about what occurs here in a town you've "let go" of.
(Or have you?  You're still writing to us.)

-Aaron Johnson (82) -- and damn proud of it!
Richland, Washington -- and damn proud of it!

>>From: Jenny Smart Page (87)

Subject: The "Paperwork"

Just wondering if anyone has actually taken the time to
fill out the "required" paperwork for a gift to the
school.  [Yes Jenny, the paperwork was submitted by Roy
Ballard on July 18.  I have a copy of it; anybody
desiring a copy can stop by the RSD offices and get one.
It is a short form; very simple, really. --ed]  There's
all this hub-bub about it, and yet I am failing to recall
anything where anyone has done what the district says
needs to be done!  Maybe we need to stop ranting and
raving for two hours, get the necessary forms, fill them
out PROPERLY and ACCURATELY, and turn them in a timely
manner prior to the 8/14/01 meeting so there is ample
time for them to be processed by the district.  It'll do
no good whatsoever for 200 angry alums to show up at the
board meeting if we haven't followed "the rules".

-Jenny Smart Page (87) ~ West Richland
That's it for today.  Keep the faith!  Nuke 'em!
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