Bomber Mascot Controversy
Issue # 24 ~ 08/22/01
Editor's Note:

Yes, I am the Richard Anderson who filed for the School
Board, perhaps anticipating that there would be a problem
with the existing board's decision at its meeting.  It
was pure happenstance that I filed for Meg Weiss's
position; her not filing leaves that position without an
incumbent.  Three people filed for the seat which makes a
primary election necessary; the two top vote-getters will
appear on the general election ballot in November.  I
have no intention of campaigning from this forum, indeed,
beyond this announcement you shall hear no more of my
candidacy here -- it would be unfair to those readers who
do not reside in the school district; also, the issues
affecting my campaign far exceed the scope of our

Richard Anderson (60)
Today's comments submitted by:

Howard Kirz (60), Verla Farrens Gardner (61)
Mercedes (Deedee) Willox Loiseau (64), Linda Reining (64)
Diane Carpenter Kipp (72), James Walters (80)
>>From: Howard Kirz (60)

I'm a Bomber, proud of it.  I think a bomb is the perfect
mascot for our school and community.  It commemorates the
critical contributions made by so many in our community
towards winning the "Great War".  I love the idea of
putting up a prominent bomb memorial.

Having said that, I've been grossed out by the vicious
and unwarranted personal attacks a number of you have
made on members of the Richland School Board.  These
people made a tough decision.  You disagree with it.  So
what?  Get a life.  They're not in office to do your
personal bidding, but to gather information from multiple
sources and then to do what they think is right in the
best interests of our whole community and school system.

You don't like their decision?  Run for office.  Put a
bomb in your front yard.  Paint your car green and gold.
Raise money for a bomb memorial downtown.  I'll
contribute for sure.  But cut the crap.  The Great War
was fought to preserve freedom and human dignity and
democracy for others.  A democratically elected school
board voted against accepting the gift.  Get over it,
stop slandering hard-working school board members and
start acting like a Bomber.

-Howard Kirz (60)
>>From: Verla Farrens Gardner (61)

The many entries about the symbol for RHS has given my
mind to reflect on many aspects of the issue.

We have been in the post Cold War period how many years?

The bomb represents the past; does it represent the
present "mission" of the students now attending RHS?  If
any change is to be made it would be nice to include the
present students.

After I read Aaron Johnson's entry it made me think of
people united in a common purpose: a suggestion 3-5
people grouped and holding the Earth (globe; whatever)
above them.  Unification of a world dedicated to
peacetime solutions.

If the bomb did save anything, it was the Earth and those
who remained.  It has always seemed a shame that we
cannot use some of the ways other countries do with the
nuclear energy and waste for peacetime uses today and

The bomb solved a problem of the 40's and the town of
Richland has been going on since then for what purpose?
The past speaks for itself.

How about us doing some forward thinking: nuclear energy
for tomorrow's children/families/people?

Can we use some of our energies to help clean up the
submarine mess in Russia, and put our energies behind
using every ounce of "good" from this source before it is
stashed into barrels and buried wherever?

Thanks to all who don't use "Nuke 'em" anymore; that
statement makes me cringe; it is a statement like what the
block bully would use. Nuke 'em until they glow applies
to some of whom got nuked while our parents where raising
livestock in the area .... I was one of them.

Let us go forward looking for peacetime uses .... for now
and future generations.

-Verla Farrens Gardner (61) ~ Oregon City, OR -- getting
                            ready to enjoy a rainy spell.

PS-- There are a whole lot of animals native to the area
that could be considered for a nickname.  I am partial to
the jackrabbit.
>>From: Mercedes (Deedee) Willox Loiseau (64)

To: Aaron Johnson (82)
RE:  Your entry in Issue #23

Wow!  Without being offensive, you said it all.  Thank

-Mercedes (Deedee) Willox Loiseau (64)
>>From: Linda Reining (64)

To: Bob (Mike Clowes) Carlson (54)

I agree whole-heartedly with your comments in Issue #23.
My only regret is that neither of my daughters were
BOMBERS; they have no idea what it means to come from a
place like Richland, nor to feel the pride in being a
BOMBER!!!!  I am, for the most part, proud of my home-
town and I will always call Richland "home".   Yes, there
were/are things I didn't like about the town, but I have
never regretted being born and raised there!  There was a
song in the late 50's or early 60's, "Be Proud of Your
School" (think it was sung by Bobby Rydell); maybe those
that can't, or won't, find pride in being a Bomber should
find that song and listen close and hard to the words and
"get the message"!!!

-Linda Reining (64)- Bakersfield, CA
>>From: Diane Carpenter Kipp (72)

I appreciated very much your [Aaron Johnson (82)] note,
and those of Bob Carlson (54) and Tedd Cadd (66).  You
made many good points; I may not agree with them all, but
I can respect them.  It was clear you were expressing
very thoughtful and sincere ideas.  If I had read more
notes like yours I never would have felt the need to
write mine.  I will take your word for it that there have
been other writers who expressed similar feelings/ideas
-- I must have missed them, or they were just lost in the
rantings which I still think were the predominant
thoughts expressed.  I also commend you for the personal
efforts you have made (the honor guard, Memorial Flagpole
Park, etc.).  And I congratulate you on your ability to
discuss -- or even argue -- ideas without insulting the
people who express them.

I have to clarify one point: if I said anything that
sounded as if I blamed the workers of Richland for the
bomb, then I need to check my writing more carefully in
the future.  At the beginning of my first letter I
thought I stated clearly that I believed the atomic bombs
were necessary -- tragically so -- but very necessary.
If any blame is assigned, it belongs to those who started
and continued the war -- the enemies of the U.S. and our
allies.  And if I came across in any way as being
unpatriotic, then I grossly misrepresented myself.  My
notes have already been too long, so I won't offer
supporting evidence, except to assure anyone and everyone
that I consider myself to be VERY patriotic, and I am
enormously proud and grateful to service people and to
everyone who supported them in the past.  And if you
won't take my word for it, ask my Marine husband of 24
years (not on active duty; but, as others have stated,
there aren't any "former" Marines), or ask any of our
neighbors who have seen the flag I have for many years
frequently displayed on our front porch.  (See, I do like

I agree that a symbol was/is needed.  I don't agree that
you can use something like a bomb as a symbol of great
and noble concepts and feelings, yet somehow ignore the
reality of what a bomb does.  To those of us too young to
have "been there", these events can seem rather abstract
-- sadly, but that is how the mind works.  But we need to
remind ourselves that children as real as our own were
"impacted" (now there is a euphemism) by those bombs.  I
still believe that what we do with our "bomb" symbols
trivializes to an intolerable and almost inhuman way the
suffering of the Japanese people, and the suffering of
any person injured by any weapon.  (Excellent point you
made about there being no difference between a weapon
that killed tens of thousands at once and weapons that
killed that many over many weeks.)

For a visual to illustrate my point: find a photo of one
of our high school bomb symbols; one that includes
cheerleaders would be good.  Then find a photo from the
40's of a victim/victims of the atomic bombs -- to make
the comparison as accurate as possible, find one of some
girls in their teens (of course you may not be able to
tell the victim's age/sex if there has been much
disfigurement).  Place them side by side.  Note your
reactions/feelings.  Consider reading John Donne's essay
that includes the phrase "no man is an island."

There must be -- I know there is -- another symbol that
could be used to honor a history that we should be proud
of, and that should NOT be forgotten.  (Dropping the WWII
theme in the Marianas and Guam -- now that's scary.  Have
they never heard "he who forgets history is condemned to
repeat it"?)  I wish at this moment I could put forth a
great idea for another symbol but, sadly, I'm not very
creative.  I had thought that some kind of "atomic" or
"nuclear" symbol might work, but don't think it would
have the powerful visual and emotional pull that you
correctly said a symbol needs.  But there are plenty of
others out there who are creative.

Of course, we've been Bombers for so many years, we can't
change it now.  Because .... that's how we've always done
it.  Change is bad.  However, it's been done previously,
that's good, just because .... it has been that way so
long.  However anything has been, there is never anything
better than that.  The longer it's been that way, the
better it is.

Just as a matter of record and historical interest, does
anyone know how/by whom the bomb was chosen as our HS
symbol?  Maybe that's been stated and I missed it too.
Was there any controversy or dissension at the time?  [Be
nice, devoted readership; be nice.  If you are not nice I
won't publish. -ed]

I'll shut up, or take my fingers off the keyboard, as
soon as I say that I think Lea Branum Clark's (55) idea
of a plaque with the names of Richland service people who
lost their lives in war is an idea that is long overdue.

Oh, and Aaron, you may not have liked my Christmas card
analogy (I still do) but you correctly took it one step
further -- it should have the people who earned the cabin
in front of it.  But not holding the paycheck stubs.

-Diane Carpenter Kipp (72)
>>From: James Walters (80)

To: Tedd Cadd (66)

True, the school board does more than vote on acceptance
of gifts; however, they were placed there to do a job by
the voters.  When an elected official ignores the
majority will of its constituents they are NOT doing that
job.  The members of the Richland school board, no matter
how much you may like/dislike any of them, have
overstepped their bounds by voting their conscience
instead of what their constituency wishes.  Their votes
should have been directed by not what they thought of the
issue but by what their constituency wanted; this was
definitely not the case.  I think the people are mad that
their wishes were discarded like yesterday's garbage and
the board needs to go back and study history.  Officials
are elected by the people FOR the people, a point they
seem to be missing or will until the next election.  As
someone stated before: we should vote the same way they
did in the next election to show them we aren't the sheep
they think we are.

To: Dick Pierce (67)

Are you ashamed of the fact the bomb ended the war early
and saved millions of lives?  Yes, it did massive
destruction and killed a lot of people but it brought the
soldiers home a lot earlier and kept a lot of them from
dying (my father for example).   It was a terrible weapon
yes; it's also a lesson to never forget.  I for one will
NEVER be ashamed of the fact that we retaliated to a
country which ATTACKED us.  If they didn't want to face
the horrors of war they should have tried for a peaceful
solution, not one of violence.  WE were not the
aggressors, they were.  This, however, is not the point,
the point is the majority here wanted the gift placed in
the gym foyer and the school board, using an extreme lack
of judgement, told the voters who placed them there to
basically shut up and go away.  They forget we have the
freedom to kick their sorry butts out of that position
come election day which I'm sure the voters will do after
being told 3-to-2 their wish doesn't count.

To: Aaron Johnson (82)

I couldn't have said it better myself.

-James Walters (80)
That's it for today.  "Kill your microwave!"
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