Bomber Mascot Controversy
Issue # 25 ~ 08/23/01
Today's comments submitted by:

Judy Willox Hodge (61), Rosann Benedict (63)
Dick Pierce (67), Diane Carpenter Kipp (72)
Brenda Emigh Gibons (82), Aaron Johnson (82)
>>From: Judy Willox Hodge (61)

It has been a week now since we sat at a meeting holding
our breaths that five people would vote in our favor for
our mascot only to have our hopes dashed to pieces!  It
has been a little over a week since that same mascot
became the victim of an onslaught that it and its creator
did NOT deserve!  It has been a week filled with anger
for some, hurt for others, and bewilderment for most of
us.  A week for which I have taken time to reflect on
just what took place over the past month and what it has
done to the Bomber Camp!

It saddens me deeply to see what this situation that we
are going through has done to us.  We, the alumni that
the rest of the country envies and wished that they could
be a part of.  We, who have stood strong and bonded for
so many years now and always seemed to come together in
true spirit and happiness!  We, who have a Sandstorm
coordinator who keeps us in touch with one another and
reading the best paper that ANYONE puts out, bar none!
We, who have a web-site that is envied by so many others
and have the pleasure of going back into time and
reminiscing whenever we please!  We, who came together at
the start of a new millennium and cried, laughed, talked
endlessly, cheered our green and gold team, and hugged
our way through three days of pure bliss at our R2K
reunion in June of 2000.  Not so very long ago really!

Here we are, just a little over a year later, and one
would think that all of that never happened to see us
now.  That I was as guilty as some of the rest goes
without saying, and I am not proud of that fact.  Instead
of seeing the opposing point for what it was and allowing
others to have their opinion, I became angry and a bit
caustic to a couple of my fellow Bombers and for that I
am heartily sorry and ashamed!  I am not, however,
ashamed of how I felt as I read the entries or of the
fact that I did feel betrayed by those who wrote them as
I am so loyal in my beliefs as far as my heritage, my
community, and my school!  I would have liked to have
been understood why I felt the way I did like the
opposition wanted me to understand how they felt and not
been called names like fascist or bomb-worshiper!  For
indeed I do love my mascot, the bomb, but I only show
worship to my God!!  To those of you that have been
offended by me and my feelings, I say sorry and forgive
me, but I cannot and will not be swayed from my position
on this issue!  How well I know that neither will you.

At this point, I can only hope and pray that we, the
mighty mighty Bombers, can heal from this rift that has
torn us apart, can forgive one another, and can allow
others their individual feelings and still come out as
strongly bonded and proud of who we are before all of
this took place!  We may not always agree on everything,
but one thing that we all agree on, at least I think, is
that we are proud of the green and gold and proud to be
Bombers!!  Gee, I sure hope that I am right on that

My final thought for now on this matter is that I think
that those scoundrels who took such pleasure in defacing
our mascot should get down on their knees and beg Roy
Ballard's forgiveness.  For the words splashed across
that beautiful piece of work that Roy and friends so
lovingly put together surely indicated that it was done
by some Bombers and this saddens me worst of all!!  I
sincerely hope that I am wrong on this score!!  To Roy
and his lovely wife Nancy, I am so sorry that you have
had such a heartache over all of this.  You did NOT
deserve this to happen to you as you have never done
anything but good for the school, its alumni, and this
community!  Please do not allow this to harden you and
turn you bitter toward the alumni as you can offer so
much in the future to those new little Bombers coming
up!!  We loyal Bomber alumni still love ya out here,
don't ya know!!  *G*!!

Bomber Cheers and Pride with No Fear to Fight,
-Judy Willox Hodge (61) ~ Richland ~ where I hope the
                                  healing can begin!!
>>From: Rosann Benedict (63)

Thanks, Howard Kirz, for saying what I'm sure many, many
of us have felt for the duration of this controversy.
Howard, you were a great leader in school, a superb
scholar, and an outstanding professional in your career.

How wonderful to see a truly civil and thoughtful
approach to an issue that is obviously very emotional for
most people.  I worried that some of these folks would
fire-bomb current board members' homes, so angry were

Although most of us had our lessons in politics end with
the student body offices and groups we had in high
school, this "bomb" issue has been highly instructive.
The concern focuses only on one issue, installation of a
bomb at Richland High School.  What about the rest of
running a school district?  Or don't those one-issue
folks even care about the real focus of schools: learning
and education?

-Rosann Benedict (63) - Seattle, Washington
>>From: Dick Pierce (67)

Geez, you guys!!  You hear what you want to hear, read
what you want to read, and assume whatever fits your
deal.  Bombers all.  I say anyone graduating before me in
'67 gets slack.  Anyone later, whoa!

To: James Walters (80)
   I think you are wrong about the democratic process "as
you'd like it."  Elected officials are entrusted.  They
represent their constituency as best they can.  Law
reform concerning public affairs firms and lobbyists
wouldn't be where it is today if they all did what
they're supposed to do. The Board operates the same way.
   What I said was that strong reactions are often based
in shame.  Read what you want into it, but your "spiked"
assumption is incorrect.  Read the first sentence again.
I also said that I felt "funny" with the bomb at
halfcourt.  A bomb is a bomb.  Whether it's a pipe bomb,
a car bomb, a mail bomb, an atomic bomb, or a gas bomb.
They are meant to do what they do.  And, I don't like
them.  Are you at all concerned with what others think of
our mascot, or is it all about how it is with you?  I am
part Cherokee, played on Toivo Piippo's Chief Joseph
Warriors basketball team, but didn't scream bloody murder
when they changed to the Eagles after re-opening.  Are we
more sensitive to native American demands to change team
names with Indian themes than we are to zillions around
the world that want to leave our lesson behind?
Jackrabbits?  I like it!
   The schematics my dad brought home where they were
working on early pacemakers at General Electric were
neater than getting under desks because we may be a

To: Diane Carpenter Kipp (71)

   The Marianas Visitors Authority and Japanese travel
agents decided to drop the WWII marketing theme as a
business decision.  Young travelers find sunshine and
beaches, shopping, golf, and family themes more
interesting than war bunkers and bomb pits.  You should
read a little about the history of WWII in the Marianas
and Guam.  "Their" history is one of being on opposite
sides at times.  More important, their history is what
happened here.  My father-in-law was a messenger boy for
the occupying Japanese because it meant that he could get
more than an elementary education.  He risked it all when
he smuggled bread to the American pilots that were
captured.  They are closer to Japan, but would never
change being Americans.  Except for all the attorneys.
And, that's what it's all about, right?

-Dick Pierce (67)- Sadog Tasi, Saipan, Commonwealth of
                   the Northern Mariana Islands (USA) and
                   still on the wall at the Spudnut Shop
                   as City Little League Champions in '60
>>From: Diane Carpenter Kipp (72)

In a recent note I asked if any research had been done on
the origin of the Bomber name, how and why chosen, etc.
Both Richard and Maren kindly and with great restraint
pointed me in the right direction, neither of them using
the term "ignoramus" in their notes to me.  Don't know
how I missed those links before, but I've read them now.
Thank you Burt Pierard and Ray Stein for your thorough
research -- I found it all very interesting.  Wish I'd
heard more about all this when I was in high school.

-Diane Carpenter Kipp (72)
>>From: Brenda Emigh Gibons (82)

As I have been reading all the entries over the last
month, Aaron Johnson eloquently summed up what I had been
thinking.  Our Bomb mascot always represented, to me, the
birth of a city, the hard work of men and women who
didn't even know what they were working on, the prefab
houses, the project, the SUCCESS of the project
completed.  The miracle that was the Manhattan project in
a race to build a weapon BEFORE ANOTHER COUNTRY DID!  I
am grateful and proud of our contribution to history.

I remember walking in protest in '82 up G-Way to the
Hanford area when they were beginning the mothballing
process.  We were fighting for our TOWN, our friend's
parents, our town's future.  I don't know HOW many times
I have had to explain to people over here in Seattle,
that indeed, I DO NOT GLOW and that what happened in
Richland was VERY, VERY important.  And to just SHUT UP
about what they don't know about and arrogantly cast
judgement on my hometown and its history.

I do, however, understand how a bomb mascot could bother
people not from Richland, who haven't lived our history.
Should I care about these opinions?  Yes I do, I want all
people to feel the way I do about Richland.  I wish there
was a way to evolve our mascot to sum up the people, the
project, the fortitude, strength, and determination they
exhibited that we want the school and its students to
exhibit as they move into adulthood.   Maybe the Bomb is
the best we can do and I'm so OK with that.

Thanks to all for being so in love with Richland and its
history that you are willing to state your opinions,
EITHER WAY.  It is refreshing in the politically correct
world we live in.

Go Bombers,
-Brenda Emigh Gibons (82) - where it is raining in
                          Redmond and we're hoping the
                          wildfires throughout the state
                          are easing up because of it.
>>From: Aaron Johnson (82)

Response to Diane Carpenter Kipp (72):

As a matter of fact, this weekend my aunt (Katherine
Ramsey, graduate sometime around 1960) was here visiting
my mom (Bev Sullivan, '54).  The subject came up (natch)
about the origin of the mascot name, and other Bomber

I remembered I'd purchased a book in 1980 written about
the history of Bomber basketball called "Bomber Mania -
the history of Richland High School basketball 1953-
1980".  An interesting note on the book -- it was not
written by Bomber alums.  It was written by two
Seattleites whose preface read, "The authors ... observed
their first Richland basketball game at the University of
Washington's Hec Edmundson Pavilion during the 1956
state tournament semi-finals.  The fast-breaking green
and gold Bombers left a lasting impression upon us and
created two more converts to 'Bomber mania'.  For the
past twenty-four seasons we have cheered Richland
victories from afar, while savoring an almost annual
glimpse of the team at state tournaments in Seattle."

Imagine, a book written in almost a reverent tone, about
a high school basketball legacy, by authors who never
attended the school.

Anyway, to my point.

On page four of this tome, under the write-up on the
season of 1954-55, there is an interesting entry:
   "An interesting series of articles in the Herald
during the late season successes centered around the
question of what had been Richland's nickname before the
age of big flying planes.  A few weeks after his initial
article, [Gil] Gilmore ran a column which explained that
the name was changed from Beavers to Bombers in 1944 and
was inspired by the atomic bomb, not an airplane.  He
said the team's towel boy in 1945, 46 and 47 had used a
towel rack on wheels, shaped like a bomb.  [Anyone know
who the mystery towel boy was? -AJ]  Throughout the late
1950's and early 60's Richland's green and gold bomb was
a State Tournament tradition."

Anyway, the book provided a stroll down memory lane for
my mom and aunt, but I only remember the 1979 state
championship game, which of course is written upon

I know the subject of plane vs. bomb has been researched
and argued to death.  I just wondered if anyone had seen
this juicy anecdote before?

Also, as mentioned in my prior post, Richland veterans
who gave their lives in "the war to end all wars" had a
plaque at the base of a flagpole placed in the first
official park in Richland.  This park was dedicated in
the late 40's to early 50's (sorry, I had the notes a few
years ago, but can't find them now), and was located
where Espresso World is now, immediately southeast of the
Jackpot service station on GWW (formerly AK's fish place,
above what was Richland Memorial ball field; the former
torn out in the name of espresso progress, the latter to
make a parking lot for the City's new community center).
As stated in my prior post, City staff tried to get
Council to quietly have this memorial and park taken out
without anyone noticing, but as/per my rep with Council,
I came in, raised hell and embarrassed them, and they
agreed to move it to John Dam Plaza.  So there is a
plaque for them in existence.

I don't want to get into the horrors inflicted upon the
Japanese civilians at Nagasaki and Hiroshima.  But please
remember the horrors perpetrated by their occupying
armies upon the citizens of those occupied countries.
The sacking of Nanking, the Bataan Death March, the
forced marches in Australia, the hacking and maiming of
not just Allied troops, but women, children, and babies
in those occupied countries, and the rape and forced
prostitution of women (covered up by calling them
"comfort women").  I don't blame the Japanese of today
for what their fathers, grandfathers, and so on did,
anymore than I blame us for the enslavement of blacks in
this country.  But, I have a smaller degree of sorrow for
the necessity of finding a quick end to the war by
utilizing this horrendous weapon upon the Japanese of the
time, then I would had all of the above horrors not been
perpetrated by their soldiers.  I feel guilt from a
Christian standpoint, but after all this time pondering
this (being from Richland, we are constantly searching
ourselves on this issue), I have been unable to move off
this position.  I believe we saved the Japanese people
many more potential deaths from a full-blown invasion of
their home islands, than were killed by the bombs.  True
remorse, and the often raised issue of an apology, (after
looking at the necessity of this action) escapes me.

-Aaron Johnson (82)
That's it for today.
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