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Barbara Lombardi
Shelton, Connecticut

July 25, 2009

Dear President Obama:

Braille has been my lifelong companion, and I cannot imagine what I would have done without it. To grasp a book and to peruse its pages is a pleasure. I always find a treasure inside waiting to be discovered as I read line by line through the cherished dots--the dots that comprise Braille.

Reading silently without another voice often puts me in my own private world, where I can meditate, laugh, or just read in peace. Noise is often a barrier to comfortable reading. Braille gives me the opportunity to read without the irritant of synthetic speech or independently of another human voice. I love technology and all it has to offer, but Braille has a sacredness about it. Whether Braille is used for homework assignments, writing notes, reading music, or reading for pleasure, the code fosters freedom and independence. I feel great pride in being able to read the written word; I realize excitement in reading Braille.

I remember opening a box one Christmas and finding large books wrapped in paper. They smelled new. They were volumes of the Bible, and I can recall how excited I was to be able to read the fresh new dots in each of the ten volumes of the New Testament.

I learned Braille when I was seven or eight years old, and I used it in school, in college, in graduate school, and at work. I credit part of my success in life to my use of Braille; I could never live without it. Thank you, Louis Braille.

Sincerely,
Barbara Lombardi