To Mr. Bones:
I was very disappointed with your Oct. 4 letter to the Tribune.
Your cost report for the Kilby Memorial (and its three-figure bronze sculpture that has yet to be placed in the plaza) is a gross exaggeration.
You also fail to mention that the total cost for the Memorial is paid by private donations, and not one tax dollar has been, or will be, spent.
Several weeks ago I was listening to my car radio when a call-in contributor stated that as he was driving to work, it occurred to him that he had a steady and good-paying job because of Mr. Kilby’s integrated circuit (microchip). Then the caller said that the young daughter of one of his close friends was alive because of the “chip.”
The little girl had a very rare brain tumor, and a team of neurosurgeons was assembled. With the help of satellite transmission, a foreign specialist who was in New Zealand was able to view the surgery taking place in a Chicago operating room, offering intermittent technical guidance. The operation was a success, and the little girl lived.
But this beautiful outcome would not have been possible but for Kilby’s invention.
Mr. Kilby attended Great Bend public schools from the third grade until his graduation from GBHS.
Many times before his death (June 2005), he stated that he would always regard Great Bend “as my hometown.” And as T.R. Reid, Rocky Mountain bureau chief of the Washington Post and contributor to National Geographic, wrote: “This guy to me is Thomas Edison walking. It’s inspiring. You can come out of Great Bend High School and change the world.”
Mr. Bones, there are a few of us left who have experienced the high honor of attending schools with Jack Kilby in Great Bend prior to his graduation in 1941. The local Jack Kilby Memorial/The Gift is indeed this community’s attesting to our respect, admiration, and gratitude for his incalculable contribution benefitting people for millennia to come-of course we are proud of him!
But The Gift has a spiritual dimension because it shows our values, work ethic- our capacity for selflessness, our patriotism and faith in God.
Please try to understand that honoring Jack Kilby as one of the world’s greatest scientists and humanitarians is indeed one of our goals. But The Gift is also offered in respect, indeed reverence for our traditions, and acknowledgement of our people, their goodness and their history.
We invite your apology, Mr. Bones, because we believe what you said may have been inadvertent.
And we invite your monetary contribution in honoring this very great man and his contributions to all, for all time.