Overhearing the news coverage about escalating tensions between the U.S. and North Korea last September, Augustus Bieber sat down and wrote a letter to one person he thought could help — President Donald Trump.
Augustus, who turned 8 in February and goes to Smith River School, said he was also concerned that second grade class wasn’t saying the Pledge of Allegiance every day.
For six months Augustus waited for a response. Finally, as he and his parents were considering sending a second letter to the White House, an answer came.
“We weren’t sure if we were going to get a response back,” said Angelina Countess-Bieber, Augustus’s mother, adding that it arrived on March 8. “(Trump) probably get thousands a day and they have staff that goes through his letters. It’s kinda neat how it took some time.”
In his letter, Trump congratulated Augustus on his patriotism and encouraged him to keep inspiring others. The president also spoke to Augustus’s concerns about North Korea, assuring the youngster that it’s his job to keep Americans safe.
“Our country will soon look to your generation for leadership,” Trump wrote, “and I encourage you to continue to stay engaged in matters concerning our country.”
Countess-Bieber said her family watches the news for about an hour a day. Augustus paid attention to the 2016 election and began asking questions.
In September 2017, it seemed there was no getting away from the latest threat from Kim Jong-un, Countess-Bieber said. She said she and her husband tried to reassure their son that the North Korean leader was just trying to scare people but Augustus was still scared.
“He was asking things like could a bomb reach where we live,” Countess-Bieber said. “What would it do and how would we know if it was happening? One night he actually started crying about it.”
Countess-Bieber, whose family members served in the military going back to World War I, said she has been teaching her children about U.S. History, the Constitution and the importance of being patriotic. Augustus’s family has a history of serving in the military on his father’s side as well, Countess-Bieber said.
“We have a family that has served our country and we are grateful for what they have done to protect our freedom,” she said. “He understands that.”
Asked what he thought about recent developments in North Korea — the possibility that Trump and Kim Jong-un may meet — Augustus said he thought it was “pretty cool.” Augustus noted that Kim Jong-un has been quiet lately and has scaled back his threats.
Countess-Bieber said she explained what sanctions were to Augustus as well as the influence of China on North Korea.
If the two leaders meet it will be the first between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader, CNN reported on March 9. The announcement came after a North Korean delegation attended the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, according to CNN.
Augustus said he wanted to tell his story to encourage others to follow in his footsteps.
“I want it to feel like other kids could write letters to the president,” he said. “If it was an adult maybe I would probably say you should encourage your kids to write a letter to the president.”
Reach Jessica Cejnar at firstname.lastname@example.org .