Friday, August 7, 2020


Seventy-five years ago today the United States dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, we dropped a second bomb on Nagasaki. The attacks killed over 200,000 innocent men, women, and children.

At the time, I was eight months and twelve days old living in a small trailer with my mom and dad and my sister Alice at Happy Valley (a housing camp across the road from K-25 – the gaseous diffusion plant that produced some of the enriched uranium for the bombs) just west of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. My father was an electrical supervisor of the underground cable at the plant.

Though nuclear weapons have never again been used in warfare, we must not abandoned our efforts to abolish these horrifying weapons of mass destruction.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Few More Photos from the Mt. House

The two photos that I am in were taken by Dennis Wolf.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Remembering a Chance Encounter

by Dee Newman

From October 1964 to September 1968, I was in the United States Navy. After boot camp in San Diego, California, I was sent to Millington, Tennessee, just north of Memphis, for nine-months to study, train, and become an aviation electronics technician (AET). By the time I had finished my training, I was married to Sandra Jo Dilday, a beautiful young woman who was enrolled in the Memphis Academy of Arts. On receiving my orders to report to the Naval Air Station in Sanford, Florida, and Reconnaissance Attack Squadron THREE, Jo and I decided that she should remained in Memphis to complete her studies before moving to Florida.

Located a little more than an hour’s drive northwest of Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center, NAS Sanford was home to ten RA-5C Vigilante squadrons. Eight of those squadrons saw extensive action during carrier air wing operations in the South China Sea throughout the Vietnam War.

Those months I spent away from my new bride were not easy. The few opportunities I received to fly to Memphis and see her, were readily taken, but always on a commercial military stand-by ticket. On one occasion, while waiting at the Atlanta Airport to catch a flight to Memphis, a woman and her daughter struck up a conversation with me. Since my left arm was in a sling, they were wondering if I had been wounded in Viet Nam.

As I was explaining to them that I was actually injured while playing flag-football, I suddenly realized who the man was sitting directly across the aisle from us. He had been engaged for some time in a conversation with a young attractive teenage girl. When I asked the woman and her daughter if they knew who he was, they both replied, “no.”

“That’s the astronaut, John Glenn,” I told them. Though they were skeptical, they encouraged me to go introduce myself.

Several minutes later, I was shaking hands with the first American astronaut to orbit the earth. He, too, thought I had been injured in Viet Nam.

As we talked, the eyes of the young teenage girl with whom he had been conversing began to enlarge with astonished disbelief. She had no idea who she had been talking with all that time. When I turned to walk back to my seat, a line of people had formed behind me to get his autograph. I’ve always felt a little guilty for exposing his identity.

Last Thursday, John Glenn died at the age of ninety-five. Of all the many renowned and celebrated people I’ve met during my seventy-two years on this planet, John Glenn stands-out. He spent a lifetime breaking barriers. He wasn’t just one of the “Mercury Seven” military test pilots selected by NASA in 1959 to become America's first astronauts, before that he was a distinguished and decorated Marian Corps fighter pilot in both World War II and Korea, receiving six Distinguish Flying Medals and eighteen clusters to the Air Medal.

He was truly an American hero who inspired us with his courage, integrity, sacrifice, and achievements, putting his life on the line in service to his country too many times to count. He also served his country as a six term United States Senator from Ohio (1974 to 1999). In 1998, at the age of seventy-seven, he became the oldest person to go into space as a Payload Specialist on the shuttle Discovery.

Godspeed, John Glenn. Godspeed.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Bear's Art Show

Back in May, Rickey Beene put on an art show at the Petros Joyner Elementary School for his friends and neighbors. All of the portraits were of people who live in and around his hometown of Petros, Tennessee.

    Bear and his brother