Sam WHITBY #234

Letters to the Editor

from Sam WHITBY in CMO #234

@. . . .   Thank you for your message and the CMO. I am sorry to be so long in answering you. David and I have been actively involved in researching my mother's side of the family, looking up our family tree, so to speak, and we have spent our free time in the Library of Virginia, reading Wills and Deeds, etc. It has been an exciting experience but tiring and time-consuming at the same time. The family is planning a reunion on the first day of October. I plan to have my version of the family history ready by then. Some branches of the tree have been traced back to about 1730, ten generations, counting as far as my brother's grandchildren. That is not far, by European standards, but it is much farther back than anyone else has traced the family.
  Thank you for the story of Lover's day, as represented in the sky.
  We have enjoyed the movement of Jupiter and Saturn through Taurus. This morning I pointed out Jupiter near the third quarter Moon and suggested that we might look for the planet after the sun rose, assuring co-workers that they would be able to see it because they would know exactly where to look. As it turned out, thin clouds moved in and obliterated any chance of seeing Jupiter by daylight. Now my co-workers have one more example of the crackpot scientist to joke about. They will not joke too long or too hard, for they know I know what I am talking about.
  I have thought hard about how to respond to your mentioning Hiroshima and August 6. The subject is a sensitive one, to say the least. Perhaps I should just write that I do feel sympathy for the victims. One would certainly hope that such a horrible weapon will never be used again against anyone anywhere.
  My wife's grandfather died fighting for Germany in the Second World War. Her grandmother's house was destroyed by British bombers flying over at night, and the family would have died if her mother had not insisted on going into the shelter below a friend's house across the street. The British bomb penetrated through the building in which they resided, and it exploded in the shelter under my then future mother-in-law's building, killing everyone there.
  My grandfather was severely wounded and gassed in the First World War. He was a very strange person, who carried psychological and physical wounds throughout his life. My father is a disabled veteran of the War in the Pacific. In summary, as much as I admire the courage of all the parties who were involved, I know a little bit, if only second and third hand, about war.
 You are right that the atom bomb added a whole new dimension to warfare. Total war was already terrible, but the awfulness is especially apparent when such weapons are available.
  I lean more and more to the view that the only good war is no war. John Wayne, rest in peace.
  You have my admiration for your successful public nights at the observatory. Sometimes the Richmond Astronomical Society has a good crowd. Now if we could only persuade the City to turn off the lights, we might see the sky.
(23 Aug 2000 email)

Samuel WHITBY ( VA, USA ) :