Some children write to Santa Claus asking for a new toy, some write asking for world peace. Other children just want to see their family members. That’s what one young girl from Wahiawa, Hawaii asked for her birthday this year — to have her mother sent home from Korea, where she is deployed in the U.S. Air Force. But rather than writing to Santa Claus, the girl, Riley Higa, wrote to her mother’s commander-in-chief.
In a letter addressed to President Obama, Higa wrote a heartwarming request that her mother be allowed to return to Hawaii for the girl’s 10th birthday. “Can you please call her boss and tell him or her to please let her off so she can come home for my birthday on Monday?”
“I miss and love her very much and if she can’t come I’ll be very very sad, love Riley Higa grade 4th," the letter read.
The Higa family then staged a reunion between the mother and daughter, surprising Riley on her birthday. After Riley was interviewed as to why she sent the letter (her response was “I want my mom to come home for my birthday and I haven’t seen her since February”), her mother came out from behind a curtain and surprised her, according to KITV. The event was a joyous one.
Higa’s reunion with her mother is a great story to read about on this Veterans Day, especially when so many other members of the U.S. military are not as fortunate to be able to return home for their family members’ birthdays or other holidays.
While President Obama likely did not authorize Higa to return home, or even read the letter written by Riley, the President does have a history of reading letters addressed to him at the White House. According to Politico, President Obama reads and responds to ten letters each day, organized from the thousands of letters he receives each day and delivered to his office by his team.