Bomber Mascot Crisis
Issue # 15 ~ 08/10/01
Editor's Note:

John Adkins obtained a copy of the agenda for the meeting
which will be held in the Marcus Whitman library at
6:30pm on Tuesday, August 14.  The agenda appears at the
very end of today's issue.  Tomorrow morning I shall try
yet again to obtain the materials to be presented to the
board concerning the proposed gift.  Marcus Whitman is
the school where the RSD Administrative Offices are
located so you can park anywhere in the vicinity and wend
your way to the library.

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

Dick Pierard (52), Missy Keeney (59)
Bill Johnson (61), Jay Siegel (61)
Judy Willox (61), Leo Webb (63)
Greg Fox (69), Kathy Hodgson (76)
Rachel Peters (95), Ami Evans (97)
Mandy Holmes (97)
>>From: Dick Pierard (52)

The debate over whether the bomb was necessary or not
will continue indefinitely, and I have no intention of
getting involved in it.  However, the comment in the
latest BMC (#14): "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," is certainly a dubious
affirmation.  We killed more people in the March 1945
firebombing of Tokyo and the February 1945 raid on
Dresden than either Hiroshima or Nagasaki.  An action
more worthy of the label "most violent act any
civilization has done to another" would be the systematic
effort of the Nazis to kill the entire Jewish population
of Europe.  Perhaps one might say this as well about
Stalin's treatment of the small farmers (Kulaks) who
resisted his program of collectivizing the entire
agricultural sector of the Soviet Union.

-Dick Pierard (52)
Professor of History Emeritus, Indiana State University
>>From: Missy Keeney (59)

To: Kathleen Ryals (77)

I also am offended by the use of "nuke 'em".  The bomb is
a symbol of war, death, and destruction; none of which I
would like to promote as a way of solving disagreements.

Yes, I am a Bomber and proud to be a Richland Bomber as
it relates to my school and school spirit.  It doesn't
matter to me whether we were named after the plane or the
bomb (although I think it probably was the bomb).

I think the mascot of RHS should be decided by a vote by
the student body.  I recently talked with a future 2002
grad and she said there were subtle things being done and
said to encourage a change of mascot.  She would like it
to remain Bombers.  Why not let the students vote?!

-Missy Keeney (59)
>>From: Bill Johnson (61)

I have read with interest all the comments on the mascot
issue.  Up till now I didn't feel that I could add
anything to what was being said; that was until I read
the (8-9 (BMC#14)) column.

First the Bomb verses the Bomber.  I came to Richland in
September of 1943 and graduated in 1961 and finally left
Richland in May of 1982.  Until I read it in the
Sandstorm sometime back, I do not ever recall having
heard of or even discussing with anyone the concept that
the Richland Bombers were ever named for the plane.  I
know that many of your parents worked out in the areas,
but they were limited to a specific area due to the
height of secrecy involved in the Manhattan Project.  My
father, Robley Johnson, was the official photographer for
this project and had virtual access to everything out
there, and after this project was declassified I had many
opportunities to chat with him about what went on out

The plane "Day's Pay" had nothing to do with either the
city of Richland or Columbia (Richland) High School.  It
all came about at the suggestion of a carpenter foreman
who worked out there in 1943 as a patriotic gesture for
the war effort by loyal Americans wanting to do their
part.  The plane, I believe, was commissioned in March of
1944 and went off to the European front.  It wasn't until
after the Bomb was dropped on Aug 6, 1945 and it was made
public what had been accomplished at the Manhattan
Project that the name for Columbia (Richland) was changed
to the Bombers, some 17 months after "Day's Pay".

As far as the mural of "Day's Pay" on the side of the
gym, I consider that to be a tribute to the effort and
patriotism of the men and women who worked so hard during
very trying times and to consider removing it I feel
would be a travesty and an insult to their memory.  I
don't see that plane as a symbol of destruction.  I see
it as a symbol of patriotism and pride in country and the
willingness to stand behind and support your country.

To: Burt Pierard

You said, "The quality of education issues, ...."  I
understand where you were going with that; however, the
curriculum issue might be the tack that needs to be
taken.  Maybe we need to tell the school board that they
need to be a little less concerned about a name or
mascot, which by the way has been acceptable for the last
56 years and still is as far as this Bomber is concerned,
and more concerned with the job they were elected to do:
educating our children.  I think that if they do a little
inquiry of past graduates, they would be hard pressed to
find a high school that has turned out more people that
have moved on to positions of prominence in our society.
Gosh, did that have something to do with the educational
process?  Guess that the bomb didn't impede their
creative process.

To: Kathleen Ryals

All the way through your monolog, you talk about the
political environment of what was, versus the political
correctness of what you feel it should be today.  History
is what it is and a lot of times it is not necessarily
pretty but that doesn't change history.  You say the bomb
was a terrible thing to do to Japan.  I am not too crazy
about Japan bombing Pearl Harbor in a sneak attack while
their ambassador was in Washington lying through his
teeth.  I say that the bomb actually saved many Japanese
and American people.  There was large scale land invasion
on the books for Japan and the Japanese had sworn
absolute allegiance to the emperor and the Rising Sun and
to die for this was glorious.  To surrender was to lose
face.  Maybe the rising sun they saw at 8:15 on Aug 6th
gave them rise to rethink this philosophy.

You say this is the most violent act, etc.  I
wholeheartedly disagree with you.  To me the bombs
dropped on Japan pale in light of the 3+ million Jews
walked on a daily basis to gas chambers by the Germans.
Talk about an act of violence of one culture against

You suggest that we come up with another name.  Why?
Because it will make someone feel better or less
uncomfortable?  History is what it is and we need to
leave it alone.  I suppose that if we go back and try to
reinvent the wheel, maybe we would all be walking and not
have to worry about pollution or the greenhouse effect.
I am glad to see though that you say that you are still a
BOMBER -- Good for you!

To: Roger Gress

Roger, I guess that I missed this tidbit of information
when I was at our reunion.  Chief Jo Eagles HUH?  Guess
we are reinventing history again.  If I remember
correctly, the advent for a young Indian brave to achieve
manhood and become a "WARRIOR" (their term, not ours) was
to commit some brave act before he could get his "EAGLE"
feather.  I am sure that the eagle did not give this
feather up willingly either.  Wonder if Chief Jo would

To: Richard Anderson

Last -- but not least -- Richard, I do agree with
Kathleen Ryals on one thing.  Each day I see that you end
this forum with "NUKE 'EM".  Just one man's opinion, but
I think that is a little over the top.  I would hope that
mankind never nukes anybody at anytime in the future.
This would be a lose/lose for everyone and I don't think
that sentiment is what this whole issue is all about.

Just one more personal note: Has anyone ever seen a high
school anywhere with this much pride in what they are.

-Bill Johnson ~ Class of '61 ~ A Bomber today, tomorrow,
              and that is not going to change .... ever.
>>From: Jay Siegel (61)

Please don't take this submission wrong; the censorship
executed by the school board and the faculty has been a
piece of art.  Twice the students said that they wanted
the Bomb to remain the symbol of the school.  When overt
action failed, a more subtle approach was used: the North
Koreans developed it into a fine art -- brain washing.
With the right emphasis and idea implants, a person can
be convinced of anything.

The present students have obviously been subjected to the
type of "programmed instruction" being used throughout
the country to rewrite history into a format that some
people feel is more "correct".  Since this discussion has
started, I have been looking into the whole concept of
"political correctness".  Like many insidious infections,
it is very difficult to find out exactly where the
infestation started.  Some sources place the beginning
with the feminist movement with the emphasis on inclusive
language.  Others blame it on the "say anything, do
anything" 60's.

Wherever and whenever it started, it is recognized
worldwide as just what it is: liberal censorship!  If you
take away a name, the image becomes blurred and
indistinct, more easily misrepresented and eliminated.

The question of the symbol of the Richland High School
mascot will come up at every opportunity until people are
able to accept things as having both positive and
negative aspects, and censorship neither increases the
positive nor decreases the negative.

Many of us who grew up in Richland during the early days
know the Bomb as a mascot.  We realize that many people
lost their lives because of the Bomb, but we also know
the positives of its creation, manufacture, and use,
especially the lives (both Japanese and Allied) that were

The PC movement removed a very proud moment for the
American Indians when the changed the name of the Chief
Joseph mascot from the "Warriors" to the "Eagles".  It
allowed the liberals to change a bit of history, the
flight of the Nez Perce from the US cavalry, a most
glorious effort by the Nez Perce, into something that is
not remembered and can be put out of sight to disappear.

The same sort of subterfuge has been used at RHS --
present an attractive alternative and do it often and
without fanfare; suddenly the original is forgotten and
the new takes its place.  It's censorship in its finest

The American people may be proud that they, in the name
of "Political Correctness", have been able to censure the
meaning of the language that we speak, the things that we
hold sacred, and indeed the history of our great nation.

The school board is faced with a dilemma: to honor what
was or to enforce a replacement lie.  One action may be
more politically expedient and one is right.  If the
school board feels that the truth is something to be
molded and manipulated to fit the political environment,
then the "Bomb" must go.  If history is something that is
to be honored and truly represented for all to learn
from, then the "Bomb" not only must stay, but the true
reason of its meaning taught.

It is time for people in leadership positions to lead
toward truth, not toward convenient lies.

-Jay Siegel (61) ~ Poulsbo, WA
>>From: Judy Willox Hodge (61)

To:  Kathleen Ryals (77)

Without the families that came here in the 40's and those
of us that grew up here, there would be no "close ties"
for you to have in this community.  That is the one thing
that is so unique about these alumni, the close ties and
the bond we seem to have.  Well, if it hadn't been for
that past reason that we were here, just what common bond
do you think that we could have had?   The reason was the
manufacturing of the plutonium for the bomb, the bomb was
the reason that we became the Bombers, the high school is
the reason for the Bomber alumni and it is all the reason
that Richland even came about.  Without us, the pioneers
of Richland, there would be no Richland for those that
don't have close ties to this city and its reason for
being here.  It could be White Bluffs still or a vast
desert area like it was.  Without the bomb, without we
pioneers, without the pride that we have for our name and
mascots, where would any Richlander be today?  NOT in
Richland, that's for sure.  I do not want my father's and
mother's, as well as all the fathers' and mothers' who
came here and endured the hardships and stress that they
did, contributions to be erased by a few that find it
offensive and don't want to accept the history of
Richland and the pride that we staunch Bomber alumni have
in it!  Ignore it if you choose, but let us that care
about our heritage and the pride that we have in it
alone.  Leave us our mascots and name since it is the
reason that this city is even here!  If you are a Bomber,
then believe in it as strongly as we do!

To:  Kim Edgar Leeming (79)

I had discussed the plan to have my hubby video the
meeting before with Diane Hartley (74).  However, I do
not know if that is allowed in these board meetings and
would have to find out if it is.  It will be done if it
can be.  And yes, I would see to it that you got a copy.

To: all Bombers

Two days ago my hubby went to John Adkins's (62) house
and got us two of the Save The Bomb signs.  Clever little
Texan that he is (well, not so little, but clever), he
cut the signs into the shape of our big yellow bomb
around the lettering and posted them in each one of our
trucks in the back window.  Needless to say, they get a
whole lot more visibility than if they were stuck in a
yard.  We live in a complex that frowns on these things,
but they can't tell us what to do with our personal
vehicles, now can they?!  The signs show up real good and
you can't miss them -- one in a black truck and the other
in a red truck.  The yellow sticks out like buck teeth on
a rabbit!  LOL!!

What say Bombers, wanna follow suit and get the message
rolling all around town and beyond?  GO BOMBERS!!!

Bomber Cheers and Pride with No Fear to Fight!
-Judy Willox Hodge (61) ~ Richland ~ AKA Bomberville!
>>From: Leo Webb (63)

With over 50 years of history of the Richland Bombers,
please don't mess with our mascot.

-Leo Webb (63) 
>>From: Greg Fox (69)

RHS has always been the Bombers.  What's this crap about
a nickname or mascot?

Come on ..... Leave well enough alone ....

-Greg Fox ~ Class of '69
>>From: Kathy Hodgson Lucas (76)

Subject: Semantics

Ouch.  Stung by the vocabulary police.  I believe the
liberal use of the words "revisionism" and "political
correctness" on this subject are not only descriptive,
but accurate.  The Bombers were not named after a plane
and to pretend so is revisionism.  The reason for the new
history is the current era of political correctness so
permeating our entire society.  It is a different
situation entirely from eliminating the word "squaw" from
our rivers and landmarks.  But let's be original.
Instead of revisionism, let's use hmm ..... let's see,
how about "fraud perpetration" or "fact alteration"?  And
instead of political correctness, how about "universal
non-offense"?   Either way, the politically correct
revisionists are convincing the new generation of Bombers
that the plane is the mascot.  The problem with that is
that it insinuates there is something wrong in
associating with the atom bomb.  It may not be what
future Bombers want but it doesn't change what past
Bombers were.

-Kathy Hodgson Lucas (76)
>>From: Rachel Peters (95)


I have only begun to delve into this vast world of the
Sandstorm online.  My dad (Leonard Peters (61)) has been
receiving it for a while, but you know how it is when
you're young, 24 hours in one day just isn't enough time
to accomplish much!  *G*

As a graduate of my BELOVED RICHLAND HIGH SCHOOL, and
being a BOMBER through and through, it just boggles my
mind that someone, anyone, who has spent any amount of
time in Richland, or the Tri-Cities, or even any area
associated with Richland (i.e., the Big 9, or 10, or
whatever it is now) would even consider NOT accepting
something that so accurately depicts us, not only as
residents, or alumni, but as people who grew up with THE

In December of last year, my mother, Rose Wildenborg
Peters (66) passed away, and in organizing her things, I
ran across a letter to my grandfather, from the President
of the United States, dated 1944 (or so) thanking him,
and his fellow workers at the Hanford Engineering Works,
for his dedication, and hard work.  THAT IS WHAT WE ARE,

People in Kennewick and Pasco, and other cities, states,
countries, have a choice as to what they will become in
high school ..... whether it is popularity, being
valedictorian, or what-have-you, but we in Richland had
no other desire growing up than to be able to don the
GREEN and GOLD, and be "Proud of the Cloud".  It's a
given.  For heavens sake, whether or not the school board
is thinking about changing the name, or just fooling
around and trying to be "PC" about a BOMB in the foyer of
a gymnasium, named after someone who loved and cared
about being a BOMBER, is just beyond me.  Show me another
school, anywhere, that has feelings, even after
graduating from HS, for their school ..... or their silly
Ours does!  I just don't understand ..... maybe I'm not
meant to understand, but ...... forget it, I have tried
to understand and just can't ..... so be it.

I just hope that no one on the school board makes any
rash decisions ..... you know, this reminds me of
something my mom told me when I was about 10 or so, "It
happens all the time around here, dear, every 5-7 years
someone from the west side of the State moves here, wins
some council seat, and then, because the BOMBER
basketball, football, track, whatever, team, beat his
alma mater, they decide that the BOMBER name is a symbol
of death, and that it should be changed.  And every 5-7
years the subject of the bomb becomes, once again, the
topic of conversation for all BOMBER alumni.  And every
5-7 years, EVERY BOMBER is reminded of the tie that they
have, and will do anything for that bomb.  And then every
5-7 years, NOTHING HAPPENS ..... because there are a
whole heck of a lot more of us, then there are of them."

PROUD OF THE CLOUD, THE BOMB, and the city I call home.  

-Rachel Peters ~ Class of '95 -- wondering if I'm the
               youngest person who is still proud of the
               Green and Gold in her veins??
>>From: Ami Evans (97)

The subject of my e-mail is also the slogan on one of my
favorite bumper stickers.  I live out of state so will
not be able to attend the school board meeting, but my
parents have kept me abreast of the whole shenanigan and
it is absurd but not surprising.  I have complete faith
in the Bomber spirit that the mascot will be back in the
school for the newest class of freshman to admire.  I
also hope that people will continue to educate about the
history of our wonderful city and amazing high school --
I am just beginning to learn.

The letters to the editor and general discussion I heard
while visiting Richland in July were inspirational (for
the most part) and I am proud to be part of such
determined alumni and supporters.

As my classmate Mandy Holmes Taylor (97) says: green and
gold veined ....

-Ami Evans (97)
>>From: Mandy Holmes Taylor (97)

Re: "Nuke 'em"

I don't remember who else has used that at the end of a
message and I know I won't be the last to use it, though
I don't do it often.  Let me say at the beginning that I
do not advocate wanton use of nuclear force and would
have to be convinced very thoroughly that it was
"necessary", "expedient", and any other vast number of
terms before I publicly endorsed its use.  But I again
state that the bomb should be kept.  Richland took off as
a nuclear town and being from there brings a unique pride
and personality to an individual.  I was on a game show
not too long ago and my "memorable thing about me" was my
high school name and mascot, which I was able to briefly
explain.  Of course, because I mentioned a nuclear power
plant, I was labeled "the glow in the dark chick" and
referred to as that for the rest of the game.  The "nuke
'em" to me, though a young and relatively recent graduate
of RHS, meant more of a showing of the teams' power and
strength and ability to ultimately destroy any opponent
as well as a few other things that need more thought to
express well.  I will argue that with anyone who tells me
what I'm "really" thinking when I use that expression.  I
don't know of much else that would express the heritage
of the area?  Any ideas?  Should we worry about
Kamiakin's Braves and that name?  Let us not be hasty in
making changes to appease a collective, though perhaps
minority, conscience.  Perhaps eventually the mascot/name
will change, but with the sentiment I've seen, now is not
necessarily the time.

Take care and keep thinking .....

Green and gold veined,
-Mandy Holmes Taylor ~ Class of 1997
That's it for today.  Keep the faith!  Nuke 'em!
Send RHS Nickname/Mascot entries to:

Back issues:


Tuesday, August 14, 2001

The Board of Directors of Richland School District No.
400 will meet Tuesday August 14, 2001, for a regular
meeting at 6:30 P.M. in the Library at Marcus Whitman
Elementary School, 614 Gray Street, Richland, Washington.





A. Gift - Richland High School Semler


A. 2001 - 2001 Budget Puryer

B. Budget Extensions

CONSENT AGENDA (approval by a single vote of the Board)

A. Personnel Actions

B. General Fund, ASB Fund, Capital Projects Fund Warrants

C. Payroll Warrant Nos 205072 through 205559 for $1,587,331.00

Electronic Fund Transfer for $2,489,905,88

Total Payroll Approved to the amount of $4,077,236.89

D. Bid #292 Energy Management - Tapteal & Badger Mtn.

E. Resolution 536 CMS Acceptance

F Resolution 537 Budget Extension, Capital Project Fund

G. Resolution 538 Budget Extension, Transportation Vehicle Fund




A. Personnel, Legal, Real Estate, Negotiations