CRESTVIEW — A Bob Sikes Elementary School fourth-grader received a surprise on Christmas Eve when a mysterious manila envelope arrived at her grandparents’ Garden City home.
A U.S. Postal Service barcode sticker obscured the return address.
Curious, Justice Livingston’s grandmother, Pat Mosely, peeled back the sticker. Underneath was imprinted “The White House, Washington, D.C.”
“‘Justice!’ she shouted and I came running — ‘Yes? Yes?” Justice said.
Justice had written to President Barack Obama in late October wishing him luck in the November elections.
“I told him I had been keeping up with him and I thought he had done a good job,” she said.
It wasn’t her first correspondence from the president. She had written to him soon after his first inauguration, when she was a kindergartner, and was excited then to have received a card from the White House.
This time, a cascade of items fell from the envelope.
In addition to a photo of Obama, there was a smaller picture of Bo, the first dog; a brochure describing a typical day in Bo’s life, including photos of him romping with the first family; another brochure about the White House and its history; and “a letter signed by President Obama in ink!” Justice said, proudly displaying the now-framed missive.
Monday, she will get to see the president in person.
Her cousins, Crestview natives Libby Lewis-Reeves, Tawanah Reeves and Master Sgt. Tonya Lewis, will take her to Washington, D.C., for Obama’s inauguration and the subsequent inaugural parade. They also plan some sightseeing, Justice said.
“They (the girl’s cousins) just adore Justice,” Mosely said. “One is coming from Atlanta, one from Orlando and one is in the Army in Kentucky.”
“I want to see the Washington Monument,” Justice said. “I can’t wait! Two days in paradise! I’m not excited about the cold, but I’m excited.”
Mosely said she and her husband, Howard, encourage Justice to take an active interest in local and national affairs and to care about other people.
“We want Justice to be real civic-minded and help people in the community,” Mosely said. “She has a good start.”
Justice ran for fourth-grade class president, and though she didn’t win, she is involved with the student government and intends to toss her hat in the ring at the next opportunity.
Last fall, Justice started the Brownstone Manor News, a newsletter for her subdivision. In it, she welcomes newcomers and introduces them and their pets to their new neighbors. During the holidays, the newsletter — whose circulation has grown from six copies to 27 — launched a Toys for Tots drive. She later delivered the toys to City Hall.
Justice intends to prepare a report on her experiences at Monday’s inaugural events for classmates in Pat English’s fourth-grade class. And she’s already composing a reply toObama’s letter, in which he encouraged her civic involvement.
“I’m going to tell him I support him on gun control and the nation has to, too,” Justice said.
Obama on Wednesday presented a $500 million proposal to curb gun violence like the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook Elementary massacre in Newtown, Conn. The plan would ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines and would require background checks for all gun sales, according to the Associated Press.
The National Rifle Association opposes most of the president’s plan, which faces “a doubtful future in a divided Congress where Republicans control the House,” the AP reports.
Justice offered advice for other students contemplating writing a letter to the president; she said the first time they write, they may not receive the number of enclosures she received.
“Don’t be afraid and just try and hope for the best,” she said. “Put some feeling and details into it. Be serious in what you’re saying and be true and meaningful.”
“And that’s very important whenever you’re talking to people,” Mosely reminded her granddaughter. “Always be true and sincere.”