To the Editor:
I was watching President Obama’s last address to the nation as President with my mom. We were both sad. I became overwhelmed with emotions as I watched and listened to the only President I’ve ever known try to tell us that it would be alright because America is not about one person, but about doing our best for the good of most people. I started to cry because I was so sad to see him go. I loved Barack Obama. He was special. He inspired me to give my best every day.
My mom was trying to comfort me and asked me, “Why don’t you write him a letter and tell him how you feel?” I wondered if he would actually receive it before he had to move out of the White House.
I decided to go for it. I grabbed my notepad and started to write him a letter. It was a lot of writing, but I did it. I wrote to him saying how I was staying strong because of him and how he helped me with his speeches in dark times like when I got bullied or something like that. I also told him I thought his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, is a major Girl Scout, just like me! Speaking of Girl Scouts, I told him how I was a Girl Scout and that I, too, had helped make the world a better place just as he had made America a better place with friendship, kindness, and fairness to all people.
My mom and I put my letter in an envelope; addressed it to President Barack Obama, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC; sealed it; put a stamp on it; and put it in the mailbox. I asked my mom about a hundred times if she thought he had gotten my letter. Did she think he would ever write back? My mom explained that he was probably very busy moving out of the White House and that he got a lot of mail, so there was no telling if he got it or if he would write back. A bunch of months passed and I kind of forgot about it. Then, on August 14, my tenth birthday, I was at my friend’s house having a sleepover and my mom knocked at the door.
My mom and dad came over to my friend’s house with cake and a present. I remember her saying, “Now this is only Part One of your birthday gift.” I opened it and it was the Polaroid Instamax camera I had been begging for all year. I was super happy! I asked her what Part Two was. She said I would get it the next day when I came home.
The next day, I had walked into our apartment with my mom. On the counter, I saw an envelope addressed to me. ”What is this?” I asked my mom. She said, “This is Part Two of your birthday present. Open it!” I opened the over-sized envelope with a gold version of the American Bald Eagle, and right away I knew it was from the “Big Guy.” I was so excited!
I asked my mom in disbelief, “Did you write this, mom?” She shook her head. “Who wrote it, then?” I persisted. The envelope was from The Office of Barack Obama. My mom told me it was from President Obama or maybe someone who works for him. It didn’t matter to me. I was so happy! Out of the millions of people out there who write to him, I got a letter response from Barack Obama on my tenth birthday! And with his letter, he also sent a signed picture of himself that hangs on the wall near my bedside table. One of the things he wrote was, “Your generation holds the greatest stake in our future.”
I was so proud of myself! And I knew my family was, too. My mother said, “He got your letter, Lily! He heard you! You are important!” And I felt like I was.
Lily Kalb, age 10