After laying a wreath Thursday at the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan, President Barack Obama lingered to talk with several people who lost family members in the 9/11 attacks.
Among them was 14-year-old Payton Hall, who had written the president a letter about her father, Glen James Wall, who was killed in the Trade Center attacks. Each day, White House staff give the president 10 letters from the public to read on a variety of topics, and on Monday, Payton’s was in the batch.
The White House invited Payton to attend–only to learn that her mother had no clue that her daughter had written the letter. She attended, along with her mother, Diane; sister, Avery, 12 years old; and a friend, Madison Robertson, who also lost her father that day. All four stood behind Obama during the moment of silence.
In her letter, Payton said, she wrote about “the entire day (of Sept. 11, 2001) and how I pictured it happening, and what it’s like to have to have to live without a father.”
But when she met him, Payton said she and the president talked about another aspect of the letter: how she’d originally written it for singer Justin Bieber, hoping to meet him. She decided on a whim to revise it and send it to the White House, even though her sister teased that the president would never read it.
As for the letter, Payton explained: “I wrote to Obama about how Justin Bieber inspired me to tell my story.”
The president offered comfort, but even better, he promised to pull some strings and make sure she meets Bieber the next time he’s in town.
WALL STREET JOURNAL
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Wow I feel so bad for that little girl 🙁 I was 22 when 9/11 happened so I remember that day perfectly. I hope she gets her wish and gets to meet Justin.
aw thats brilliant! im so happy for her!:)