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Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Dashauna Priest still recalls sitting in her third-grade classroom 12 years ago in Lorain, Ohio, writing a heartfelt thank-you letter to a World War II veteran whom she did not know. At the time, and in the years that followed, she had no idea that the recipient of her letter would carry the note with him everywhere he went, carefully folded in an envelope. "I'm never without it," said Frank Grasberger, now 95.

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Grasberger, who lives in Strongsville, Ohio, was drafted into the military when he was 18 and spent nearly three years in Germany. He received Priest's letter, which was part of a class project, while he was on an Honor Flight home from D.C. in 2009. Ever since, the letter has either been folded neatly in his pocket or tucked away beneath the seat of his wheelchair. Wherever Grasberger goes, the letter goes.

The handwritten note, printed on a sheet of lined paper, imparts a simple message of gratitude: "Thank you for saving us from Hitler. If it wasn't for you, we would never have freedom. You made freedom for us. You sacrificed your own life."

Reading the letter for the first time more than a decade ago, Grasberger was moved to tears. "It really tore my heart up when I saw it," he recalled. "I just couldn't believe a child could write a letter about a war." The message, plus the pencil and crayon drawing of an American flag and Army helmet that accompanied it, resonated deeply.

[O]n July 23, Priest showed up at the retirement community dressed in her military uniform with a dozen red roses in hand. Grasberger was told someone was coming to interview him about the letter, but he had no idea Priest had finally been found - or that she was there to meet him in person.

When she walked in the room, Grasberger immediately exclaimed: "You're not the girl?!"

The emotional surprise was captured on video and featured in a now-viral TikTok. When Grasberger finally grasped that he was with the young woman he had long been searching for, he turned to her, grabbed her hand and said: "I love you so much. I really do."

Moments like this and people like these are exactly the things I love about the spirit of this nation embodied in the tremendous love and respect some carry in their hearts. If only more tried to live from love than from hatred ...

#1 | Posted by tonyroma at 2021-09-14 09:57 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

Although Priest, now 21, knew little about the war or the veteran to whom she wrote the letter, "I always looked up to people in uniform, so I took it really seriously," she recalled.

She didn't realize, though, that the recipient would take her letter very seriously, too.

Grasberger was eager to connect with the kind girl and decided to draft his own note to her in response.

"You really made me feel very good about fighting the war," he wrote. "War is a terrible thing but if it helped to keep you and many others free' it was well worth it."

Grasberger's wife, Delores, mailed the letter to Priest's school, though the couple never got confirmation that she actually received it.

As years passed and they still hadn't heard anything, "I was determined to find the girl that wrote that letter," Grasberger said.

Over the summer, Grasberger presented his cherished letter to Jill Pawloski, the resident services director at Vitalia Senior Residents at Strongsville. ... She surfed on social media, and after a few quick searches, she found a profile on Instagram that seemed like a possible match, given the name and that the person looked to be about 21 years old.

Pawloski was unsure if she had the right woman, but "I decided to give it a shot and send her a private message," she said. "I hit the nail on the head."

Priest was stunned to see the message in her inbox. She knew exactly what letter - and veteran - the stranger was referring to.

"I was so excited," said Priest, who went on to join the Army National Guard.

She, too, had reflected on the letter over the years, and she did, in fact, receive the reply from Grasberger. She keeps his letter safely stowed in a memory box, filled with other sentimental tokens from her childhood.

"I read it from time to time and think about him," Priest said. "I always wanted to have a conversation with him because of everything he wrote in the letter."

Just the story I needed today as the rest of the world spins out of control. If you can't feel good about this story, lord knows what it'll take.

#2 | Posted by tonyroma at 2021-09-14 03:04 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

What a sweet story. Thanks for sharing it, Tony.

On a related note, my wife and I were watching brilliant UK comedian Michael McIntyre's BBC show "The Big Show" the other night. This segment featured two young girls who became pen pals in WWII and were still writing to each other to this day, one from the UK and the other from Australia. He flew in the now 83-year-old woman from Australia and had them meet in person for the first time on his show. And gave them a couple weeks to hang out together.

#3 | Posted by AMERICANUNITY at 2021-09-14 05:04 PM | Reply

A wonderful story.

On a related note, all out there who know WWII vets who are still alive should urge those folks to record their remembrances of wartime experience, while those recordings can still be made. The Smithsonian collects them, and they also are as valuable as gold for families. My father did this and even now, 20 years after his passing, I enjoy listening to his story and hearing his voice again...

#4 | Posted by catdog at 2021-09-14 06:40 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

#3

You're more than welcome AU.

#5 | Posted by tonyroma at 2021-09-14 06:46 PM | Reply

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