September 14th, 2012
06:36 PM ET

Letters to the President #1334: 'A day of light and shadows'

Reporter's Note: I write to President Obama every day, even when it is not easy.

Dear Mr. President,

What a strange day you had; meeting our Olympians at the White House this morning, and meeting the bodies of our slain citizens as they were flown back from Libya this afternoon. I can hardly imagine the whipsaw of emotions even for a president.

Meeting the Olympians has to be one of the rare, great pleasures for any resident of the Oval Office. The talent, ambition, and drive of Americans who are willing to push themselves hard enough to become among the world’s finest athletes is something to be admired. With your own interest in sports, I am sure it was inspirational just to stand among them, to shake their hands, and hear their stories.

(Btw, I saw a picture of you saying hello to the fabulous marathoner Meb Keflezgihi. Made me so happy. He came by here yesterday and we had a great visit. Such a nice guy.)

But then your day was bookended by what must be the saddest of details; standing in tribute while someone in service of our country is brought home for a memorial service. The solemn display out there at Andrews was hard to watch even on TV without feeling the powerful sense of loss and mourning.

Of all the remarkable days you have experienced in office, I feel as if this may be one of the most remarkable when all is said and done, because this juxtaposition of events was simply so dramatic and emotional. There are days in which I envy your job, and days in which I don’t. This was both.

I hope all is well with you and your family, and even more so with all the families whose company you shared today in both joy and sorrow.


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