Most people believe the Wright brothers invented the airplane, Henry Ford the automobile and either George Stephenson, William Murdock, Richard Trevithick or William Reynolds invented the steam locomotive. However, the truth is many people had a hand in developing most of the modern technologies we take for granted today.

But not according to Joe Biden. He says the electric light bulb was invented by a black man named Lewis Howard Latimer. But Biden is wrong: Latimer had no more to do with inventing the light bulb than you or I did. He already had a working light bulb; he simply improved on the filament, which given the time, someone would have eventually discovered that tungsten was the better metal.

That’s always the case with new technology. The Wrights developed powered flight but they never envisioned the jet engine; nor did early steam engineers envision the diesel engine. That in no way denies Latimer’s contribution to the light bulb. He was a gifted inventor in his own right. Just like Joe Biden is a liar in his own right.

Another point missing in Biden’s education is that Latimer was not all black. Latimer’s grandfather was a white man named Mitchell Latimer and his grandmother was a slave named Margaret Olmsted of Norfolk, Virginia. I did a stack of copy paper on Genealogy.com to dig out the truth.

CALVIN LACY

Hertford

Willing to risk getting killed not asking to be killed

British philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote: “Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons.”

I expect that most Americans would strongly disagree, largely because of the word “trivial.” Killing or being killed “for trivial reasons” does, indeed, make the dead seem like “losers” and “suckers.”

Mark Twain wrote of believers who “tore each other apart over minor doctrinal differences.” Who can know for sure when X is “trivial and minor” or the most important thing in life to the parties involved?

Also, I think that Russell should have written “..and risk being killed.” Even Jesus, as I understand the story, asked that he not be required to die. Nevertheless he accepted his Father’s will.

Everyone who drives is willing to risk being killed but not willing to be killed.

JIM BRIDGES

Elizabeth City

Thanks to SAMC staff for making birthday special

Recently, I spent 24 hours at Sentara Albemarle Medical Center in Elizabeth City.

I was very pleased with the care I received. Everyone was kind, helpful and thoughtful. The doctors, physician assistants, therapists and nurses explained everything, listened to me and answered all my questions.

During this time, it was my birthday. This was not the celebration I had planned. I even missed my birthday party my family gave me.

I’d like to say “thank you” for the birthday wishes and a special “thank you” to May, for the flowers and “Happy Birthday” sign.

Also, I sincerely appreciate the birthday cake and balloon. It made my birthday much more pleasant. Words cannot express my thankfulness for making my stay in the hospital better than I expected.

GAIL LANE

Elizabeth City