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Letter to the Crippled Children.

To the Crippled Children of America

Dear Children:

Through this letter I wish you a Merry, Merry Christmas. You cannot play football but you can join the throngs who look on and cheer and yell for victors; you cannot play baseball but you can join the thousands who shout their applause; perhaps you cannot become a great pianist but you can revel in the recital of a Paderweski; perhaps you cannot become a great actor but you can appreciate the Rip Van Winkle of a a Joseph Jefferson. The truth of the matter is the great sources of entertainment are provided for the many by the few. If what I have already said is true, you, my dear children, can share generously in the joys of Christmas even if you are not star performers. You may not see Santa Claus nor see the reindeer; nor hear the gurgle of his sleighbells. I am sure, however, that Christmas morning will bring you the sleds, wagons, drums, guns, dolls, Teddy bears, candy, nuts, hats, caps, shoes etc. that other children generally receive. I know that your loving friends will remember you! You will enjoy your Christmas dinner, but best of all, you will enjoy the chatter and the laughter of your companions.

Long years ago, I was a little boy. At that time I had four little sisters. We lived in a small log house far out in the country. Sometimes on Christmas morning empty stockings hung up from the night before said that Santa Claus had forgotten to call. We did not lose faith in Santa Claus. The next Christmas Eve we were sure that we would not be forgotten. In each of our stockings we found a handful of candy fish. I was more delighted over this little gift than the boy of today is who receives Noah's Ark. For days and weeks I kept the fish covered with cotton batten in a little box. From day to day I touched the fish with my tongue until finally my treasure vanished. What a precious memory. Oh for another Christmas like the Christmas of long ago in the little log cabin.

Hundreds of years ago, the good Father of us all gave the world the Christ Child. You all know the story of his life. It is his love we cherish. It is his love that makes Christmas the most glorious day of all the days of the year. It is not so much what you get as what you give. Out of your hearts give kind words, give smiles- give laughter. Let your hearts be filled with much gratitude for your father's and mother's love; for the love of your brothers and sisters; for the love of your playmates; for the love of your Heavenly Father who has given you this world of "sunshine and beauty."

Once more I say a Merry Christmas on every day in the year!

Source: Miscellaneous speeches and Biographical Mateiral. Woodbridge N. Ferris Papers. Bentley Historical Library. Ann Arbor (Mich.)