Readers Respond to the September 2022 Issue

Your feedback on discrimination in World War II, the treasures of Fossil Lake and Istria

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This article is a selection from the October issue of Smithsonian magazine

Croatian Destination

“Away to Istria” was a thoughtful delve into a part of our planet I knew little about (September 2022). I am not sure which intrigued me more—Tito’s parrot or the discovery of the Danse Macabre—Liz Dunster | Wilson, North Carolina

The Man, The Mystery

Your September 2022 cover features a photograph of Gallos, an eight-foot-tall bronze sculpture by an artist you didn’t name.  “Gallos” is the Cornish word for “power.” Interestingly, the last words of the article are, “We know this was a center of power [.…] But whose power was it? It’s always going to remain a mystery.” But the sculptor needn’t remain a mystery: kudos to Rubin Eynon. —Stephen DeWoody | Winter Park, Florida

Finding Fossils

The history of our planet is as amazing and exciting as any study can be. The work of the people who perform the drudgery of digging in the dirt to find fossils is priceless. “Treasures of Fossil Lake” (September 2022) has motivated me to visit the Smithsonian. And to make a cross-country trip to dig for my own “gold” at Fossil Lake. —Marie Watford | Helena, Alabama

Persecuted Sailors

Your article on the Port Chicago disaster and subsequent prosecution of black sailors during World War II (“Half the Battle,” September 2022) was an excellent examination of this tragic incident and the broader issues of racism in the military. Readers should be aware that Congress created the Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial at the site of the explosion. Efforts continue to seek exoneration for those unjustly prosecuted for resisting the discriminatory and hazardous conditions at the base. —John A. Lawrence | Washington, D.C.

How do you decide which article is featured on the cover? After reading the September 2022 issue, I was struck by the choice of the story on King Arthur over “Half the Battle,” an article that had so much more depth and heart. I was blown away by the powerful, factual tone of the writer exposing systematic and heartless racism in our own World War II Navy. It should have been the cover. —Brenda J. Dougherty | Zephyrhills, Florida

Marooned Mammals

I’ve had the pleasure (or terror, depending on how you look at it) of walking through a herd of bison at nighttime on the back side of Catalina Island (“A Hairy Problem,” September 2022). Trust me, they do not moo like cows—they roar like lions. —Chey Midkiff | Facebook