An Open Letter to the First Lady
Dear Mrs. Obama,
On February 3 of this year, a very special lady celebrated her 102nd birthday.
In keeping with the love and respect you have consistently shown for our troops and for our veterans, you were thoughtful enough to, on the occasion of her special day, send this lady your personal congratulations and your thanks for her service to our country.
As you will remember, this lady is Ms. Bea Cohen, California’s oldest living female veteran and indeed a national treasure.
Ms. Cohen, an immigrant from Romania, not only served honorably in our armed forces during World War II, but she is also one of the few people still alive who witnessed the beginning of World War I in 1914, when, at age four, she watched low-flying airplanes drop bombs on the factories near her home in Romania.
After the war, Ms. Cohen continued to serve her adopted country by working with Ex-POW and military family services groups and by contributing her time and effort to many veterans and philanthropic causes and organizations. She has continued to do so even after becoming legally blind in 1990 and after losing her husband and soul mate, Mr. Cohen, in 2003.
Ms. Cohen has been rightly honored on several occasions for her World War II military service and for her subsequent 67 years of selfless volunteer service. Most recently, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno honored her at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. during events to promote the Army’s 237th birthday.
When asked in a recent interview what she would like to accomplish this year, 2012, Ms. Cohen answered “…to collect clean, white socks for homeless veterans, and to meet First Lady Michelle Obama.”
Mrs. Obama, I know that Ms. Cohen will singlehandedly and easily accomplish her first objective.
But only you can make her second objective — her dream — come true.
As you know, we are losing our World War II veterans at a disturbing rate of 1,000 each day. For Ms. Cohen, at the age of 102, time is so precious and so is her wish to meet you.
I hope that you will be able to make Ms. Cohen’s wish come true.
Maj. Dorian de Wind
U.S. Air Force, Retired