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March 22nd, 2011
09:00 AM ET

Letters to the President: #792 'A visit to San Salvador'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: The president is visiting Central America. I hope my daily letter finds him there.

Dear Mr. President,

Despite everything else that is going on in the world, I must say I am delighted to see you are visiting El Salvador. It is a beautiful country and one that is sorely overlooked by most of us here.

I first went there rather unexpectedly in 1986. My wife and I had just returned from our honeymoon and were spending our first weekend together as a married couple in our new home of New Orleans. The phone rang and my news director said, "Do you have a passport? There has been a big earthquake in Salvador. A cease-fire has been declared in the civil war. Your plane leaves in three hours."

It did not seem to matter that I spoke no Spanish and neither did my photographer. A short while later he and I were riding in the back of a pickup truck with a dozen guys from Puerto Rico who were searching for family; riding over cracked roads, through random fires, past roadblocks guarded by army troops, and oceans of people suddenly homeless.

We worked around the clock following the search for survivors during the day and at night roaming through streets filled with sleeping bodies, people afraid to be inside until all the aftershocks stopped. We slept on the pavement ourselves, in the shadow of an old volcano, waking to flocks of parrots chattering overhead.

And yet, through it all, it was easy to see what a lovely place it was. I was enchanted by the people, loved the countryside, and began learning Spanish right then and there. I hope you find it as wonderful as I did.

That's it for today. Travel well. Call if you get a moment.

Regards,
Tom

Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (One Response)
  1. maya

    I can't help but feel the Muslim world has gotten just what they want, get the USA in another war while we are crying "help us" but behind the mask we are saying "YES" got them again Now we can move forward in our plan to destroy the US and her allies. Why aren't the Muslims countries not doing their own dirty work and deal with this mess???? They got you good USA, again....Can't you see behind the mask???

    March 22, 2011 at 10:09 am |