Dear Mr. President,
Four years ago, on your first Inauguration Day, we sat in the lobby of a hotel in Orlando with suitcases at our feet and our eyes glued to the T.V. screen. We had just spent the long weekend at Disney World, and were about to head to the airport. We were glad to have the opportunity to listen to your speech before leaving.
Your words were grave. You outlined the many challenges before us as you described the “winter of our hardship.” But you told us:
“We have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord…The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirt; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.”
We tried to explain to our children how important this day was and why people (everyone from other hotel guests to hotel workers who had abandoned their posts to hear your address) were wiping away tears as they listened to your words. There was a lot of love for you in the room that morning, Mr. President.
We didn’t get to see you when I took my children to the Easter Egg Roll at the White House, but I had a whole speech planned out just in case we got to meet you. I wanted to tell you that eight-year old Nicholas had campaigned hard for you. He made up campaign posters and tacked them to the trees in the woods behind our house. I’m fairly confident that he had all the squirrels in our neighborhood convinced that you were the man for the job!
My sister did get to meet you not too long ago. Knowing how much it would mean to my parents, she sent the photo to them in Korea. Later our cousins told us that my parents left it lying prominently in the middle of their coffee table, where everyone would have to see it. Whenever anyone would come to visit, they would say very casually, “Oh, that? Oh, yes, mmm hmm…our daughter met the President of the United States.”
Mr. President, it hasn’t been an easy four years, but you’ve acted with wisdom, integrity, and humanity. Your recent proposals to enact gun control are a perfect example of how you are working for “a better history” and a society where everyone can “pursue their full measure of happiness.”
Thank you for all that you have done and for taking on the hard work of the next four years.