Bomber Mascot Crisis
Issue # 14 ~ 08/09/01
Today's comments submitted by:

Gary Scholl (56), Nancy Stull (59)
Burt Pierard (59), Roger Gress (61)
Jim Vaché (64), Rob Peutz (73)
Kathy Hodgson (76), Kathleen Ryals (77)
Marjo Vinther (77), Kim Edgar (79)
Andie Ell (93), Mandy Holmes (97)

>>From: Gary R Scholl, Sr (56)

BOMBERS is our nickname and the BOMB is our mascot and it
has been so for a long time and as far as this (56) grad
is concerned it should stay that way for eternity.

Just because some people got their feelings hurt we
should not coddle them.

Anyone who studies the Pacific War Zone of World War II
would know that the Japanese were very criminal in some
of their acts of violence against the Chinese and any
other country they overran.  Our survivors of their POW
camps tell of very awful treatment and so do some of the
missionaries who got caught in South East Asia.

It just makes me angry to think that in saving American
lives we now have to cower from these dissenters.

BAH HUMBUG -- leave our mascot alone!


-Gary R Scholl, Sr (56)
>>From: Nancy Stull Jewell (59)

Plane?  What plane?  I always saw only the bomb.  It was
on the front of my Pep Club sweater.  You know, the one
where you put all your club pins.

-Nancy Stull Jewell (59)
>>From: Burt Pierard (59)

To: All

First, I would like to apologize for the emotional
content of my submittal yesterday.  Unfortunately, I tend
to react that way when I see further evidence of the
effects of the Day's Pay fraud on present and past

Second, I have received e-mails asking me to identify the
other three members of the Gang of Four, but I am not
going to do that in a public forum at this time.  It's
not like it's a deep, dark secret -- all three were
quoted extensively by the national press after the
student vote to adopt the mushroom cloud with the green
"R" in 1988.  The new incoming RHS Principal, Steve Neill
(72), one of our prime supporters in the Bomb permitting
and location fight, has expressed legitimate concerns
that the Bomb issue can grow into a fissure within his
new faculty which he wants to avoid.  I understand and
agree with his concern -- we want to keep the School
Board focused on the permitting of our Bomb and its
speedy return to its rightful place of honor.  The
quality of education issues are generally a matter of
curriculum and can be pursued at a later time.  Let's
keep the emphasis on getting our Bomb back!

See you in Richland on August 14.

Bomber Cheers,
-Burt Pierard (59) ~ Monroe, WA
>>From: Roger Gress (61)

To Whom It May Concern,

I don't think that there is anything wrong with our
mascot's name and it would be a shame to change it.  I
think that it was a shame that the Chief Joseph school
name was changed [Note: the school's name stayed the
same; its nickname became "Eagles" from "Warriors" --ed].

I say leave the Bomber name alone and if you don't, then
I guess you will paint over the picture of the bomber
on the outside wall.

Boy I can't believe that this has gotten as far as it has
and if it continues it will make a mockery of the school.

I don't know of a school that has such good support from
its Alumni.

I went to my 40th Reunion this year and we had more
people show up than were at the 30th.

I hope the school board makes the right decision.

-Roger Gress ~ Class of 1961 and proud of it.
>>From: Jim Vaché (64)

It is with some trepidation that I enter (quite late) the
debate about the origins of the Bomber name and its
relationship to the current controversy regarding the
Bomber nickname, the placement of the donated bomb, etc.
A few comments:

1. It is astonishing and gratifying to see the intense
loyalty to our common history exhibited by so many here
and elsewhere.  This past week I was in Lincoln City, OR
with my siblings (and two more generations!) and I noted
that my sister Mary Ellen (59) had a Bomber license plate

2. I am mildly alarmed by the propensity of so many to
fling epithets -- particularly "revisionist", and
"politically correct" -- around with such abandon.  In my
line of work such words are taken with deadly
seriousness.  They add color to the debate, but very
little substance.  For example, is it "revisionist" to
reflect on the "wrongs" of the Japanese exclusion order?
Though the U.S. Supreme Court upheld that executive
action, it was clearly extralegal at the time, as the
eventual reparations agreement recognizes.  For example,
is it "political correctness" to rename streams, creeks,
roads, etc. because the European names were crude
references with sexual secondary meanings?  Or was it
"revisionism" to rename them to that name during the
Western Expansion by Europeans in the 19th century?  (I
know for a few, and suspect for many, that there were
names to those features before "we" came along).  The
problem of the use of distracters of this type has become
so common in our culture that we seem to forget that such
name calling violates one of the basic principles of
rational debate established millennia ago by our friends
the Greek philosophers. (On this, I side with Aristotle
and Socrates and against the Sophists, even though they
also have gotten a bad name because of historical
revisionism, in that case by Plato!)

3. I am gratified by the chance for all of us to learn a
little about the difficulty of doing primary historical
research.  The efforts of Ray Stein and Burt Pierard are
quite remarkable.  But both reports point to some of the
problems in "writing" history.  As I read the reports,
both use essentially the same data to come up with
different conclusions.  Could that be because they
started with different assumptions?  BTW, I think both
reports are essentially correct [based on the criteria of
internal coherence and documentation]: the BOMB was not
foremost in the minds of the "framers" (Stein wins), but
neither were they inspired by the Day's Pay (Pierard
wins).  I do think that Burt used the wrong criterion to
judge his work: "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" is a
highly technical concept drawn from criminal procedure.
If I were to judge his essay on that burden, he would not
have met it -- there are too many unknowns to establish
that level of proof.

4. I was also gratified that we could learn another
lesson in "knowledge".  As I wrote earlier, Burt makes a
convincing case that the Day's Pay was not the
inspiration for the nickname.  But disproving that theory
does not prove anything positive.  He would still have
the burden to establish that the actual reason was the
BOMB in order to justify the mushroom cloud, etc.

5. Conclusion.  Anyway, it has been fun to work this
through.  I intend to subject both essays to a wonderful
essay that I have entitled "Logical Errors in Writing
History", an esoteric text for professional historians.
Also, if anyone is interested, I have co-written a couple
of essays on establishing truth in certain value claims
(concerning the law and the militia movement).

Pedantically yours (I can laugh at myself),
-Jim Vaché ~ Class of '64 and proud to be a graduate of
             Columbia High School

PS -- When are the CK kids going to band together and
demand that "our" name -- the '59ers -- be restored? :)
>>From: Rob Peutz (73)

As the smoke starts to clear as to where the mascot
originated, thought I would drop off my 2 cents worth.

I found it interesting that someone would think about
changing the mascot in the name of political correctness.
I remember the movement to change the name of the NFL
team, Redskins.  Not too long ago, San Diego State wanted
to get rid of its mascot, the Aztec.  Both teams still
use their mascots.  That being said, I have sat in awe at
the Hiroshima Peace park, wept at the USS ARIZONA (BB 39)
memorial, and have walked on the deck of the USS MISSOURI
(BB 63).

I decided to serve my country, right out of high school,
and continue today.

I am proud of my country, and hope that we do not decide,
in the name of political correctness, that something we
did might have been an embarrassment.

The colonies were not allowed to have any metal
implements, but somebody stepped out of the box, and
forged a metal shovel.  A bold move, an absolute act of
treason against the British Crown.  This changed the way
we do things today.

George Washington warned John Adams of a second political
party forming and how devastating it would be to the
Republic.  A second party boldly stood up and changed the
way we elect our presidents.

Amazingly, we manage to move forward and revel in our
accomplishments.  The atomic bomb was a bold move.  The
Alamo was a bold move.  The attack on Fort Sumter was a
bold move.  These places changed the way we do things.

I hope we don't ever forget, that although it may not be
politically correct, Freedom is NOT free.

-Rob Peutz (73)
>>From: Kathy Hodgson Lucas (76)

The furor over the Bomber name is not simply about a
school mascot.

The very fact that freshmen today think the Bombers were
named after a plane shows the apparent success of
politically correct revisionist history.  Pretending a
different history does not make it so.  It does a grave
injustice to those who lived it, and especially to those
who died for it.

One can no longer discount the necessity for the bomb in
light of Japanese documentation delineating their
absolute refusal to quit, even after the first bomb.  A
patriotic pride in contributing to such massive and
convincing power does not equate to indifference to
innocent lives lost.  Our nation's first responsibility
always is to ourselves, and obviously the powers-that-be
determined the bomb to be the most expedient and
effective means at their disposal of saving hundreds of
thousands of American lives at the time.  I, for one,
thank God that it was ours and no one else's.

My son, Class of '02, is dead set against changing the
mascot or the mushroom symbol.  He is well informed
politically and understands, therefore respects, nuclear
power and all of its potential from energy to medical to
military.  He is proud of this country and everyone who
was and is willing to sacrifice for it.  We refuse to be
shamed into changing our history for pathetic apologists
or foreigners in denial, seeking to rewrite a politically
incorrect history.

My Pasco Bulldog husband is just as staunch a Bomber
supporter, as are our two future Bombers, Classes of '07
and '08.

Richland Bombers, Richland Beavers, Richland Boogars; who
cares?  If the present politicos succumb to the pressure
to choose a less controversial mascot, those of us true
Bombers (and I don't mean the plane), lucky enough to
have shared in the Bomber Pride for so many years, will
make sure it is never forgotten.  But they wouldn't dare!

-Kathy Hodgson Lucas (76) ~ Richland
>>From: Kathleen Ryals (77)

I have chosen to remain silent on this issue as I have
mixed feelings.  However, seeing "nuke 'em" yesterday at
the close of someone's entry make my stomach turn.

I moved from Richland when I was 18 but retain close ties
to the community through my parents, my extended family,
and my good memories of growing up there.  I have also
come to understand through historical reading what led to
our dropping the "bomb".  The political environment and
the patriotic sentiment driving the bomb's production and
use are very different from those realities now.  Even if
I disagree with the use of nuclear force, I can be proud
in an historical sense of what our parents and
grandparents felt they had contributed to ending the war.

However, I think our pride or understanding of that
memory can be maintained with a change of the mascot
name.  While it may not be offensive to some who grew up
in Richland and whose families have been there since the
40's, it is offensive to many others.  The undisputed
reality, regardless of whose side you are on, is that the
"bomb" destroyed countless lives and represents the most
violent act any civilization has done to another. It is
an act that even proponents of the Bomber name would
agree should be avoided at all costs in our future.  We
no longer live in the political reality we did when the
Bomber name was chosen.  It no longer represents how we
now view our lives and our community.  Does Richland
stand now for nuclear warfare or are we just proud that
we ended violence so many years ago?  Do we want the
message that we send to our children who are now entering
the education system in Richland to be one of pride in
warfare or pride in peace?  We can and should educate our
kids about what led up to Hiroshima but we don't need to
have our high school teams named after that symbol of
destruction.  I am supremely confident that if all the
creative forces at RHS put their minds together they
could come up with a mascot name that we could all be
proud of and that would express the historic and future
pride we feel in the Richland community.  I am a Bomber
and I think enough is enough.

-Kathleen Ryals (77)
>>From: Marjo Vinther Burt (77)

To: Burt Pierard (59)

I read your report when you first distributed it in the
Alumni Sandstorm.  I thought it was excellent and I am in
agreement with your conclusion.  That's WHY I was
discussing it with my daughter in the first place!  So --
you see -- we're on the same side! :-)  The point I was
trying to make yesterday (and obviously failed to do) was
that some parents of RHS students might not realize that
A LOT of kids believe the plane is our mascot!  They may
also be surprised (as I was) to discover that their own
child is of that opinion!  I just always assumed that the
kids knew the bomb was our mascot, even with all the
Day's Pay hoopla of the past few years.  Wrong!  That's
why I suggested that other alumni-parents ask their RHS
children what they think the mascot is; so that if they,
too, believe it's the plane, they can be corrected.  I
was also attempting to forewarn other parents that it may
take a lot of convincing on their part; because,
unfortunately, the Day's Pay "indoctrination" has been
quite effective, and the kids LOVE the plane!  Maybe it
will turn out that I'm the only one who didn't have a
clue -- it wouldn't be the first time! -- and maybe my
daughter and her friends are the only ones who thought
the plane was the mascot.  But I bet that isn't the case.

It's encouraging to hear from Brenda Fisher Sponholtz
(78) and Judy Willox Hodge (61) that there ARE indeed
students who do know the facts.  Maybe they (along with
my daughter) will be able to correct the mistake for the
rest of the student body, even if there are those in the
administration who feel the need to revise history so
that it is more "palatable" to them.  We just need to
remember that what we alumni think (and do) about it is
only half the issue; it's equally important that the
current student body knows the truth and is involved as
well.  If we proceed without them, we really aren't
accomplishing anything.

-Marjo Vinther Burt (77)
>>From: Kim Edgar Leeming (79)

I won't be able to attend the meeting, but if anyone
attending the meeting video tapes it, I wouldn't mind
paying for a copy of the tape.

-Kim Edgar Leeming (79)
>>From: Andie Ell Newton (93)

I am from Class of '93.  My dad (Gary Ell) is from Class
of '67, and four aunts from Classes of '70 (Kathy), '72
Janet, '76 (Judi), '83 (Linda) and a sister from '90, and
a husband (Matt) from '92 and a brother in law from '93.
I am a Bomber, and proud of it.  It is something that has
been passed on down through my family for many years.  I
believe it is a great school dripping with pride and a
history that screams triumph!  Why would anyone want to
change that?  It seems to me that anyone who has a
negative comment or issue about the mascot/name was never
a Bomber.  And with that in mind, they should have no
say, comment or issue about anything Bomber related.
Because they are not in the loop and never will be!

-Andie Ell Newton (93)
>>From: Mandy Holmes Taylor (97)

Greetings to all Bombers.  My input was requested and I
must admit I've had many things rolling around in my mind
about the name.  I have always connected the Bombers with
the Bomb, obviously.  And, though fed the "we're named
for the plane, not the bomb" bit, I never truly believed
we were named because of Day's Pay, though I think the
connection with the school is not harmful nor
disrespectful.  My thought on my class president's
comment is that he was repeating information; he is a man
who likes to keep the peace, and that kept the peace and
helped '97's commencement greatly.  (I did enjoy having
the B-17 fly over the stadium ..... I just wish it could
have dropped something.)  I like the plane, but I like
the cloud and bomb more and whenever I think of the
Bombers, I think of the "R" and the mushroom cloudburst
symbol.  I'm proud to be part of a nuclear town with all
that comes with it, including the stigma.

One of my more interesting Bomber moments was walking
through the Enola Gay exhibit in the Smithsonian Air and
Space Museum.  I had my letterman's jacket on, complete
with the cloud on the back and "Richland Bombers" above
and below the cloud.  I watched the presentation and
looked at pictures with great interest and pride, knowing
that I came from the town that helped that along.  I do
believe that it was terrible that there came a point
where such a device had to be constructed, but with the
construction came the ending of the war.  Of course more
Japanese were killed than U.S. soldiers in the dropping
of the bombs, but what would the toll have been for all
involved with the imminent land invasion of Japan?  My
grandfather was in the Pacific Theater and would probably
been involved in the land fight.  Because the bombs were
dropped he came home and eventually met my grandmother
which eventually led to my existence.  In fact, the whole
time I was in Washington, D.C., my family never lost
track of me because I was wearing my green and gold
jacket.  My mother said, "Find the Bomber, it will be

Keep the name, the logo, the mascot.  I'm still learning
about the heritage of the place of my birth and rearing
and to lose the significance of the bomb or shift it to
the plane instead of the bomb would be a shame.  If I
could be at the meeting, I would be but I cannot.  The
closest I will get to Bomberland is Seattle, where I am
traveling to August 9.  I will be home in time to send
all my thoughts to the meeting, but alas, not my person.
I take responsibility for any poor history I have
mentioned, but my opinion was requested and sometimes
opinion dominates so much that fact slips to the wayside.

Keep the faith and nuke 'em!

Green and gold veined,

-Mandy Holmes Taylor ~ Class of 1997
That's it for today.  Keep the faith!  Nuke 'em!
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