LtE in CMO #252

From Samuel R WHITBY

@. . . . . . Thank you again for your message of condolence after the attack on September 11. The sympathy of our friends has been a great comfort in this country.


 You may wonder about the mood of people in America. I cannot speak for the country, but I can tell you some of what I have seen. Since the attack, many churches have been full. American flags are everywhere. The differences between Americans, racial and religious and economic, have been relegated to the background, and there is a sense that people want to emphasize the values that we share, our shared citizenship.  People seem to be going out of their way to make little gestures of friendship and solidarity.


 Although there has been some anger, the prevailing mood seems one of mourning, and that is being replaced by a resolve to destroy the ability of our enemies to make this type of attack upon us and our friends. I seldom if ever hear of someone wanting to kill Afgans or any other terrorists, but there is an eagerness to do it, if that is what is required to protect our safety and our way of life. We have not had to make severe sacrifices yet in a war on terrorism, but I feel that people are willing to make whatever sacrifices are necessary. David will be 16 in about a month. In a long war, he may have to do his part. I dread that possibility. There has been one death from anthrax, and the news this morning reported a possible case of anthrax in Virginia, which now seems not to have been real. There is the worry that more attacks may come. There is the worry that the war may widen beyond what is intended. We do not want to fight anyone because of his religious beliefs.


 We are not, no matter what it may look like, a warlike people, and it takes a lot to get us riled up. Nonetheless, September 11 awakened the sleeping giant, and the giant - which will try not to become a monster - will not go back to sleep until it and its children and friends are safe.


 Most people seem to approve of the way President Bush has responded to this crisis.  Several people who usually vote as Democrats have told me that his speech before Congress was exactly what we needed to hear.


 A few days ago I learned during my research, that one of my great-grandfather's brothers, William E. Cumby, died from gunshot wounds received during the American Civil War Battle of the Wilderness in May, 1864. I had thought that all the brothers survived that awful war. John, the wounded brother who survived, was admired, and his story was told many times. Willie seems never to have been mentioned. Maybe his story was too sad to tell. Losing loved ones is what one fears the most.


  I have had the opportunity to observe Mars a few more times. Although I read reports of the dust clearing, it is still very hard to make out any details. The weather has been very clear, and the seeing has sometimes been good. Last night we had our first frost of the season. This morning the seeing was excellent. On our Moon the double craterlet in Plato was visible.


  Thank you again for your kind message and your friendship.


(9 October 2001 email)

@ . . . . . . . Perhaps you will enjoy the attached image of a parhelion (sun dog), visible yesterday afternoon from Hopewell.

 (11 October 2001 email)

Sam WHITBY (Hopewell, VA, USA)

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