September 21st, 2011
07:33 PM ET

Letters to the President: #975 'Birthday wishes'

Reporter's Note: President Obama has to deal with a lot of important matters. I have to deal with a cake, some presents, and one of the great joys of my life…uh, and also this letter.

Dear Mr. President,

Can’t explain why, but I have been on an old country music jag lately: Bob Wills, Hank Williams, Roy Acuff. I pull them up on Pandora and my office sounds like an Alabama honky tonk all day!

I suspect it has something to do with my new guitar, which I told you about. A friend called when I sent him a picture and said, “Great guitar. Do you have a Porter Wagoner suit to wear with it?” Ha!

In sharp contrast to all that “crying in your beer” music, my younger daughter turned 16 today, and our house is full of celebration. Actually, we’ve been celebrating for days and we will for several more just because that is the way we are. We love a good time and if it is to mark something good for someone we love, all the better.

Seeing her birthday upon us, however, reminds me of how different the world is for our children now and likely how different it will continue to be far into the future. Think about the state of the country were when you and I were young; the nation was still wrestling with Vietnam, and the civil rights movement, and the crazy rise of the Baby Boomers. The economic success of the post-War years was turning into a runaway freight train of ideas, innovations, experimentation…it seemed like the sky was the limit for what Americans might accomplish. Actually, considering the moon missions, the sky was not the limit, it was just the beginning. Or at least it seemed that way.

Today? Well, I guess it’s not so much that way. We’ve got an awful lot of burdens, it seems.

But I have to hand it to my birthday girl and many of her pals; they maintain a pretty remarkable sense of humor and hope despite all that we face. They are undeniably more aware of the challenges (through school, the Internet, and TV) than I was at their age, but it does not seem to daunt them. That’s good. The truth is, as you and I and all the other adults tie ourselves into knots over the economy, and politics, and world affairs, I find it very encouraging to know that my daughter can blow out her candles, wish for better days, and truly have faith that they are coming.

Now, if we can get more grownups showing such faith…that could be a gift for the whole country.

Anyway, I have to go home for more partying. Call if you get a moment, but don’t be upset if we don’t hear the phone over all the singing and laughter. Ha!



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