Bomber Mascot Controversy
Issue # 26 ~ 08/24/01
Today's comments submitted by:

Gus Keeney (57), Stephanie Dawson Janicek (60)
Verla Farrens Gardner (61), Jay Siegel (61)
Mercedes (Deedee) Willox Loiseau (64), Dena Evans Harr (64WB)
Dorris Meloeny (68), Diane Carpenter Kipp (72)
>>From: Gus Keeney (57)

Thanks, Aaron Johnson (82).  I had been trying to answer
some of the issues and get them down on paper (Cyber &
Others!!), but I think that you covered everything I had
in mind so far.  Let's try to move on to get ourselves
back on the same track.

Thanks again,
-Gus Keeney (57) - Gonna be 104 or so today here in
                   Yuma AZ. Sunshine and 99 already at
>>From: Stephanie Dawson Janicek (60)

To Howard Kirz (60) on his defense of the Richland School

And you're absolutely right -- the critics are denying
the School Board members the very freedoms that the
critics hold so dear.

They missed two additional points: (1) the school mascot
still is the Bombers and (2) we still have the small
green bomb we've always had.  Maybe it needs to be cloned
and the clone installed where the big one was ripped out.
I'm for a little subtlety here: the elephant doesn't need
to roar for everyone to see how big he is.  The concept
of "Bombers" and a small (old, historical) bomb is

-Stephanie Dawson Janicek (60)
>>From: Verla Farrens Gardner (61)

Before too many RHS alumni and present students get too
offended by my mascot suggestion of RHS Jackrabbits ....
it was written more in jest .... my husband ribs me about
how I start up at a traffic light.  Ken says you lived on
the high desert so long you do jackrabbit starts.

Now, I am not one to believe that THE Bomb will be
leaving RHS quickly; so, go ahead and have your
memorabilia:  Bomber earrings, Bomber necklaces, Bomber
hats; the possibilities are almost endless in marketing.

For those who want an alumni ring I think that is a great
idea.  I still have mine so I am fine in that area.

If one was to make a plaque with people holding up the
earth they could be standing on a mushroom shaped cloud
and some statement like: "In war and peace upholding a
world for all to live."

From the age of 5 to 10 I rode the range in Eastern
Oregon with my father in the fall and spring looking for
predator damage to our livestock; those predators were
coyotes and bobcats.  The coyote would be a great mascot
for RHS; for those who want to keep historically true to
Richland we know Native American Indians have lived in
the area a long time -- e.g., Kennewick Man's bones are a
testament to this.

Native American Indians call the coyote the trickster.
The coyote makes a nice yip yap sound -- which could lead
to all kinds of great cheers for the RHS Coyotes.  We
could all wear faux fur coyote hats with a coyote tail on
the back.  Coyotes are very adaptable to their
surroundings; so again, marketing possibilities would be
almost endless.

Then, of course, there is the diamond-back rattlesnake
that does not strike unless it feels a threat to its
safety.  The bighorn (sheep) is almost extinct; maybe
that would be a mascot that would be appropriate for RHS.

If none of the above appeal to the masses, maybe a cash
cow would work as a mascot.

If any change is to be made to the RHS mascot, it seems
to me the PRESENT students of RHS should be included in
the decision making process.

I will retreat now and leave room for others to speak
from their hearts.

-Verla Farrens Gardner (61) - Oregon City, OR
>>From: Jay Siegel (61)

It appears to me that many people are missing the point
-- the Bomb is a mascot, a symbol, a point of
individuality.  No other high school in the country has
the loyalty and support of its alumni as ours does.  I
have spent hours searching the web for sites similar to
ours, searching for something similar to our "Sandstorm".

The derivation of the Bomb (as a mascot) is not nearly as
important as the fact that it is our mascot.  When one
thinks about the positive images that the word "bomb"
conjures up one thinks of words like "power",
"swiftness", "strength", etc.  Unfortunately, many prefer
to focus upon the negatives -- "death and destruction"
being the biggies.  As the cheer goes, "We are the
Bombers, the mighty, mighty Bombers."  If you look for
the negatives, you can find them in any mascot.

Take the suggested "jackrabbit".  The first image that
comes to mind is the obvious: speed.  Any other
positives?  Negatives: weakness, food for the strong,
cowardly.  Not a very inspiring image for a team when you
look at it that way.  The "Day's Pay" was responsible for
considerable death and destruction, it only took longer
to do it, yet it is not considered offensive.

I am a Bomber and very proud of it.  It is unfortunate
that the reason for that pride is lost upon so many
people.  We are special individuals who have a very
unique mascot; we value its unique positive symbolism.
We are bound together first by the uniqueness of our city
-- Richland -- and second by our mascot, the Bomb.  My
wife graduated from a large school in southern California
-- graduating class size, 1200.  The number that showed
up for the last reunion -- fewer than 200!  My class size
-- about 350; the last reunion, about 150.  We are
special and ask that uniqueness not be disregarded.  The
"Bomb" is our mascot.  If that is not to your liking, you
are welcome to your opinion, just don't try changing my
world to fit your opinion.  The are many of the new PC
mascots that I find repulsive, but they are there; accept
the good and leave them there, don't change them because
you feel that your sensibilities are offended; for, after
all, they are mascots and have importance in their own

-Jay Siegel (61) - Poulsbo, WA

>>From: Mercedes (Deedee) Willox Loiseau (64)

To: Aaron Johnson (82)

Again, you have said it, and said it eloquently.  I'm
amazed that someone graduating in '82 is so on top of it
regarding Richland's history.  My son graduated (from
Burbank's Columbia High School) in '83 and I'd be willing
to bet he doesn't have a clue.  Of course, he never lived
in Richland and didn't go to school there.  It's
interesting that my husband who is a bulldog (no caps),
not a Bomber, is behind us on the mascot also.  I thought
he would tell us that we were overreacting, but he said
we'd better do something about it now before it's too

-Mercedes (Deedee) Willox Loiseau (64)
>>From: Dena Evans Harr (64WB)

To: Judy Willox Hodge (61 )
   All are entitled to their own opinions, so I don't
feel that it is necessary for you to apologize for yours.
God is the only one we have to answer to in the end
anyway.  Love ya!

To: Dick Pierce (67)
   I've always enjoyed your submissions .... very
enlightening.  I also like the way you stand your ground.

To: Aaron Johnson (82)
   Each piece I read of yours is truly eye-opening.  I've
let you know privately how wonderful your text has been,
now I want to thank you again for the insight that you
have and the knowledge that you've shared with us.

To: Brenda Emigh Gibons (82)
   My sentiments exactly.  I did not graduate from Col-
Hi, but the green and gold still flows through my veins.

I lived in Richland for about four years, and they were
the best scholastic years I've ever had.  They were also
the most memorable school years because of the feeling of
belonging to an even greater "family".  It wasn't just
the students themselves, but the community that stood
behind its future leaders.  That is very evident when you
read the Sandstorm.  The alumni are strong in their
beliefs, no matter which side of the fence they are
sitting on.  THIS IS GOOD!!

-Dena Evans Harr (64WB) - Pittsburg, CA where the wind is
                          keeping the temps down.
>>From: Dorris Meloeny (68)

It is amazing that so many former RHS students have so
many words to spend on what should or should not be a
high school mascot.  Where do you all find the time, in a
presumably ongoing life?  Is this really that important?
I am honestly curious.

-Dorris Meloeny (68)
>>From: Diane Carpenter Kipp (72)

To: Judy Willox Hodge (61)
   Great letter; I agree with what you wrote, thank you.
And I hope that alumni on both sides of the "bomb" issue
will agree with what you said about the defacing of
the bomb.

To: Dick Pierce (67)
   Don't know if you were very tactfully hinting that I
shouldn't write about what I don't know about -- if you
were, of course you're right.  I don't know anything
about the specifics of WWII in the Marianas and Guam, and
shouldn't make judgments about their current decisions.
But I do believe that "he who forgets history is destined
to repeat it" is true in principle, though I'm sure the
application in any particular situation or location is
individual.  Is your father-in-law's story written down?
It sounds fascinating.

To: Aaron Johnson (82)
   The historical information in your note is so
interesting.  And I remember you mentioned in your
previous note that you had saved the memorial to the
veterans; somehow I didn't compute that when I read the
other note suggesting a memorial plaque.  (Just wait 10
years -- your brain may start to glitch too.)  Sometime
soon when I am in the Tri-Cities I'll go to John Dam
Plaza and look at it.
   Regarding the horrors of war; I don't disagree with
what you said.  More accurately, I agree with the points
you made, but I perceive them as generalities, and when I
think of suffering, I think of individuals.  So, no
matter whose country or soldiers did what to whom, I
think of the individuals and their suffering.  And no
matter which side caused more suffering, I can't take any
individual's suffering lightly or consider it less than a
tragedy.  I'm not saying my way of thinking is the right
way in this situation, it's just my perception.

-Diane Carpenter Kipp (72)
That's it for today.
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