"Today, I take the unusual step of sending you a personal message. Perhaps you, like millions of others, have heard that North Carolina’s recent passage of House Bill 2 – which has been called the worst anti-LGBT bill in the United States – has provoked an outpouring of public concern. Among other things, HB2 bars cities, towns, and counties from prohibiting discrimination of any kind and makes clear that LGBT people may legally be singled out for unfair treatment in the workplace, housing, and public accommodations.
What does this have to do with you? The reaction to North Carolina’s passage of HB2 on March 23rd has been swift and strongly in opposition. Calls for boycotts of our state have been answered by individuals and businesses who will not attend the $5.38 billion, 600,000 visitor High Point furniture market this April and, more generally, by the State of New York, the City of Seattle, and others. Amidst this deep concern, which I share, I want to make one thing clear: Replacements, Ltd. affirms the dignity and beauty of each and every person. You will always be warmly welcomed at Replacements, Ltd.
You may know that I’m gay. One year ago, I married Dale Frederiksen, with whom I’ve shared my life for 27 years. Together, we have raised twin sons we adopted as infants in Vietnam. In July, our boys will be 17. Last summer, we added another teenager, a Nigerian scholar-athlete, to our household. Growing up on a small tobacco farm in rural North Carolina during the 1950s and 1960s and during my three years of active duty service in the United States Army, I never dreamt I could be openly gay and successful, much less that I could have a family of my own. My experience of feeling like an outcast opened my eyes and my heart to all who have been judged for being different. While acceptance of people like me and families like mine has grown – and I am grateful – transgender people today face obstacles similar to those I saw first-hand generations ago. At Replacements, Ltd., we are very fortunate to employ a number of extraordinarily talented people who are transgender. These people are like family to me. And having known and worked with many transgender friends over the years, I see in each a reflection of myself. The thought of being afraid to share space with any one of those good people is hard for me to understand, based on my personal experiences. If you had the opportunity to meet any one of them, I bet you’d feel the same way.
Again, as long-standing advocates for fair treatment, diversity, and inclusion, North Carolina-based Replacements, Ltd. will welcome you with open arms."Bob Page Founder & CEO
A.F.B., Brookline, MA
"After reading your heartfelt message, I felt compelled to write to thank you for your courage and dedication to such important issues. I immediately forwarded your e-mail to my husband, my dear friend and Rabbi, and to another good friend and colleague who grew up gay in North Carolina. We had just discussed these issues over dinner this past week. I now want to send you the attached powerful sermon by my beloved Rabbi Wes Gardenswartz that he delivered this past Shabbat at Temple Emanuel in Newton, MA as a direct result of your message. As you can see, your words inspired deep learning. Thank you for sharing your story and your compassion for others."
Click to read Rabbi Gardenswartz's sermon
V.M., Philadelphia, PA
"I am a Philadelphian, originally from NC, whose family has been there since the 1700's and have all been loyal customers of Replacements since it was founded. I read Bob Page's press release with tears in my eyes. I want you to know I now plan to buy those missing crystal glasses sooner rather than later. And if this madness doesn't get repealed, I will personally come down and help you pack the china for the move."
K.C., Akron, OH
"I received Bobs email this morning as I am a subscriber to Replacements. I read with interest his thoughts as he expressed his feelings about NCs view of the LGBT bill. My daughter, also adopted from El Salvador is gay. Her journey has been bumpy, painful, and recently joyful as she found someone with whom she wants to spend her life. She is a human being with rights like everyone else, she deserves to be loved. Her soul is beautiful, and it is an honor to be her Mother. Please forward to Bob, I loved his message and courage. God Bless.
"Please tell Bob Page that as a mom of a gay son, I loved his message this morning. It inspired me and comforted me. I think as these hateful things happen, there is a silver lining, and that is that folks like Mr. Page speak up and we are able to 'meet' them and thank them. Not only for their public declarations, but for living their life, locally and mostly privately, in a way that is inclusive and loving everyday. What a generous heart and spirit lives within Mr. Page. I now know a bit about Mr. Page and his family and company and I'm grateful to hear this amid the current political atmosphere. It's like a breath of fresh air, and a booster shot of hope. I'm on a support group FB blog with over 1000 moms of LGBTQ kids and there was plenty of posts about the bill. Today someone posted Mr. Page's message, and all of us moms are cheering. Thank you so much!!"
M.D.L, Hillsboro, OR
"I am really proud to count myself as one of your 10 million customers. Brilliant email/press release from your CEO/Founder. I am neither gay nor transgender - I'm just a human being, which is how I think of everyone. Thank you for doing the right thing. PS: And thank you for identifying my crystal pattern, and for your ongoing search for missing pieces. Your service is amazing!"
L.C., St. Louis, MO
"My brother-in-law sent me an email he received from Bob Page, your CEO regarding legislation pending currently in NC. He sent this because he is the attorney who made it possible for our child (who is trans) to have his birth certificate amended with a new name and his affirmed gender. We are following the events in NC and are thrilled with the number of companies that are standing up for children like ours. I truly believe the world changes one interaction at a time. So very many folks have changed their opinion of trans people just by knowing our son. He's advocated for many by speaking at local schools, on TV and radio interviews as well as newspaper and magazines. Thank you for what you are doing for the generation that will be my son's peers."
A.H., Mantoloking, NJ
"I just received your email in regards to N.C. HB2 and was deeply moved. I am a retired architect from Mantoloking, New Jersey, who for over thirty years, provided Architectural Services, not only through my New Jersey Office, but also to Clients in the Pinehurst, NC area where I travelled to about every two to three weeks. Some of my clients in the area, I am sure, knew that I am gay and there was never an issue with any. Some of them, in fact, met my partner of over fifteen years when they would come to New Jersey. I find it distressing that the State of North Carolina would pass such a bill. I do admire your courage and strength to express your views to such a huge client base. I have been a customer of your firm for many years during which you have helped me to complete my set of a Christian Dior pattern (Casablanca) that was discontinued when CD stopped all China production. I am still working with your company to get some more pieces to another pattern which had limited production. I want to wish you and Dale and your family all the best for years to come."
M.N., Warrington, PA
"What a lovely letter. Thank you. I am not a member of the LBGT community, but I have many friends who are. Growing up a number of my mother's closest friends were gay men (she's a librarian which tends to be a gay friendly profession). I never thought twice about gay or lesbian relationships. Love is love. I became a bit of a crusader when one of her dear friends was hospitalized and his partner of 30 years wasn't allowed in his room. Hospitals are some of my least favorite places and the thought that if I were a lesbian my loved one could not be there to comfort me, outraged me. I've never forgotten that conversation or lost the outrage it engendered. Thank you for standing up for what is right. Thank you for your military service. I'm so happy you and your husband were able to marry and thank you for being so brave in sharing your story. I wish that all you would get is positive feedback from this. I fear it won't all be positive. I hope the good far outweighs the bad."
J.W., West Palm Beach, FL
"I don't know you and you don't know me. I have done business with you ever since I found you on the internet. When I think of Replacements, I think of it as the one place in the world I would love to work. It sounds to me like Disneyland for employees. One of my dreams is to visit some day and see all of your beautiful things for myself. Anyway, I had no idea about you or your life. Your letter made me cry. I am simply ashamed of humanity at this point and that does not even begin to describe the way I feel about man's inhumanity to man as well as just about everything else in this world. I hope you get so many letters of kindness and support that you will never have enough time to read them all."
R.C., Norfolk, VA
"I applaud you for this wonderful statement. Some years ago my good friends in Greensboro whom I often visited brought me to Replacements Ltd. and I had the privilege of meeting you briefly when I was being shown around your terrific facility. It would be hard to recall anyone who has been more successful and creative in a business venture and I hope the state of North Carolina pays attention to that fact. I am myself one quarter Carolinian and the action of the state in regards to an inhuman, disrespectful approach to LGBT life appalls me. I am glad for the happy, decent life you and your family live, a life you have every right to possess. My business dealings with Replacements Ltd. have always been of the highest caliber, and your staff people I have worked with on orders, searches, returns and the like are among the most pleasant and helpful persons one could ever hope to encounter. You are fortunate to have them and they, indeed, are fortunate to have you at the helm. My best wishes to you and to Replacements Ltd. to which I turn for finding the unfindable. Among my friends who deal with your business we have a saying to one another: "If Replacements ain't got it, you ain't gonna get it!" My best wishes to you and my hope that the state of North Carolina will come to its senses somewhere along the way and get in touch with reality, leaving behind its own kind of shameful terrorism."
K.H., Piedmont, CA
"Thank you for sending out this personal and public letter, The recent passage of House Bill 2 in North Carolina is a stain on the state's character. I am thrilled that you, and likely at least some other North Carolinians, remain opposed and horrified. To the extent you are able to continue to use whatever corporate influence you may have to reverse the legislation or work towards organizing it's revocation, I would be even more proud to be a Replacements, Ltd customer. It shouldn't have to be the case in this day and age, but it still is. Writing this letter takes moral and personal courage. Doing the right thing often attracts phenomenal negativity and I hope you, your family, and everyone at your organization is spared hate reactions for simply doing what is so obviously right, moral, and just. Take good care and thank you for setting such a splendid example for all of us."
L.W., Sebastopol, CA
"I did not know your company is based in North Carolina, I did not know you, and I did not know your story. I am a customer living in Sebastopol, CA. I am also a lesbian and have been with my wife for almost 23 years and we have two sons. I read your heartfelt email and it made me cry. I so appreciate your honesty and strong words about HB-2. I was very sad and devastated when this passed. I hope this can be overturned. In the meantime, keep doing what you are doing! I have been an occasional customer of Replacements, Ltd. I can tell you I am going to be more of a loyal customer and spread the word to my friends and family about this great company. Take care and I wish you all the best."
K.W., Milton, MA
"Thank you for sharing your personal story, and affirming your belief of treating everyone fairly. My beloved father, growing up in Arkansas during the depression, also was gay, although he outwardly conformed to societal expectations. It is amazing the liberating changes that have taken place in the last 20 years. Your children will not grow up in the secrecy that surrounded my family. Let's hope the recently filed lawsuit prevails in overturning this unconstitutional and unkind law."
B.R., Glendale, AZ
"I applaud your openness, your sincerity and your views. I am from Canada originally and married a gentleman from South Carolina, since deceased, who had a difficult time overcoming his ingrained prejudices. However, as a nurse who worked with sexually transmitted diseases for a number of years - I worked alongside a wonderful male psychiatrist who was gay and taught me the value of humanity and spirituality that I may never have learned otherwise. It almost took a big brick to make my husband understand his prejudices for what they were, but eventually this dyed in the wool southerner overcame came around "somewhat". My prayer is that your State will come around as well. Those who don't are still in the dark ages mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The world is becoming enlightened - they must too."
L.H., Virginia Beach, VA
"As a sister of a gay woman who lives in Mississippi, I applaud your letter. Because of where she lives, she has never come "out" openly. I intend to forward this letter to her. I live in Virginia and am a liberal-thinking Christian woman. I often feel compelled to try to change people's thinking regarding gay people & bought a copy of the book you sell in your store regarding what the Bible says about homosexuality. People are slow to change their minds. I have hope that people like you can help. I hope you send this letter to many people and not just those of us who purchase from Replacements."
A.M., Broadlands, VA
"Bob, I commend you for all of your hard work and staying true to yourself!! Thank you for sharing your personal story so candidly. You truly have so much love in your heart. Congratulations on marrying your soul mate, Dale, and for the adoption of your three children. I haven't a single doubt they are growing well into stand-up young gentlemen. It's the LOVE that makes this world go 'round! I am a straight, married mother of an 8 year old girl and 4 year old boy. I teach them to accept and see the good in everyone. I cannot comprehend why some people in this world can be so nasty and discriminating. It's kind of sad, when you think about it....they have so much hate in their hearts. They create their own misery. They will not allow themselves to open their minds and to feel free. We are all people and all people need to give AND receive love. As much as I could argue all day with how wrong those naive, hateful people are....I don't want to fight negative with negative. I want to show how acceptance brings happiness and hope and love. Love so clearly prevails...look how far we've finally come...and we're still progressing!! Best wishes to you and your beautiful family and to your talented team!!"
J.C., Charleston, SC
"While I am a straight woman who has absolutely no issues with gay or transgender individuals, I wanted to express my admiration for your eloquent message of inclusiveness. Your personal story is a beautiful and touching one. Prejudice in any guise has no place in a civilized society, but it regrettably does exist in ours. That you have powered through any prejudice you may have encountered over the years to embrace the love and family you desired, and the success you clearly earned, is wonderful. And that you run a business that honors the individual and not a societal labeling is laudable. I bet you're right-I would appreciate any of those good people in your employ. I hope many others would feel the same way. Know that when I have need of a china, silver, or crystal replacement, it's Replacements, Ltd. to which I will continue to turn in the future."
L.S., Salem, CT
"I have followed the growth of your company since my late Mother excitedly told me of a small ad she had found in "Good Housekeeping." She could finally find replacements for all the spoons she had dropped into the garbage disposal. She loved dealing with your customer service reps and she felt like they knew her whenever she called. She would always show me, with some amazement, the little packages she would receive from you, often containing one SS Gorham teaspoon. When she passed away some years ago I inherited the family silver. I have since added to it with many wonderful pieces from you. Even though the recent actions of the North Carolina legislature are reprehensible, and my Mother would be outraged at those politicians, I will continue to use the wonderful service you have provided all these years. Your company and all your wonderful employees should not suffer. And thank you so very much for sharing your very personal, moving, loving family story with us. I am deeply touched."
L.Z., Washington, DC
"I am a long time customer who has purchased Meissen and Royal Copenhagen plates and other dishes from you. I have always received excellent service and I plan to buy more dishes soon. I was on your website today looking at some Royal Dalton. But the reason I am writing is to thank you for your e-mail about gay rights. My sister in law is gay and 80 years old; she has struggled with prejudice her entire life. I am so happy that generally this civil rights struggle is moving in the right direction so that the next generation will face fewer problems and be able to enjoy their lives with whomever they choose. I am straight and have been married many years to the love of my life; I want all gay and straight people to enjoy the same gift of companionship and love."
R.B., Royal Oak, MI
"Your letter is so beautiful and heartens me greatly. Thank you for your courage in humbly reaching out to all of us and standing up for what and who you believe in. I recently had a friend who's husband has revealed his transgender status, and I know she has said it's very hard to go out in public with him because of the way she sees him being treated. I plan to share your kind words with her."
G.V.N., Malden, MA
"Thank you so much for sharing your story. I also am gay, as is my brother, and our 91-year-old mother lives in Hendersonville, a wonderful town my parents retired to 30 years ago this year. I lived and worked for a short time in Greenville, NC. My experience with North Carolinians has by and large been a positive one, although I probably know more Northeastern transplants to North Carolina than actual natives. I have been a pretty regular customer of Replacements for some time now and have to admit I did give some thought to trying to avoid doing any business in NC besides what I have to do to visit my mother. Your letter relieves me of that dilemma! Continued good luck to you, your husband, your sons and your business!"
D.L., Signal Hill, CA
"Awesome, Bob! Keep up the good fight! Your company and its employees rock! Many years ago your guys saved us on a cat food spot, when the hero actor cat broke the crystal goblet that was used for years to feed the cat. I traced the pattern of the glass and measurements and in those days faxed it to your company. Ya da! You had like 6 in stock! Saved us!"
M.H., Spokane Valley, WA
"Thank you for your timely and to-the-point message. I applaud your willingness to speak out and support you wholeheartedly. I am a 64 year old, long-married straight grandmother. I am a conservative Republican. I am a Mormon. My younger brother (also a Bob) was gay, and gay in 1970s and 1980s small town Utah. I have seen firsthand the tragedies that result when ignorance, intolerance, and fear combine to produce such things as HB2. So thank you again for speaking out. I will stand at your side with pride."
K.S., Alpharetta, GA
"You have touched me on so many levels. First, I am a heterosexual female, married with a child. I live in the 'burbs of Atlanta. So what could we possible have in common? I am a proud member of an Open and Affirming church. In April, my church will start hosting a PFLAG group for transgender youth and their families. We welcome ALL. I am also an International Adoptive parent (son from Russia, 2007). Most of all, I am a believer that God created and welcomes all. Thank you for your stand. While we have not ordered from Replacements lately, I will certainly think of your company first when I am looking for a piece. Thank you for your email and blessings to you all."
E.S., Norwalk, CT
"This is probably one of the most honest and sincere letters I have ever read. It truly warms my heart. Please pass on this thank you to the owner of this wonderful company and thank him for sharing and being so honest about his life. I truly wish you were closer. I would be in your store everyday even if I had nothing to buy just to show my support for a company that truly loves and cares for every human and of course their pets. Mr. Page if I could only give you a big hug. Thank for being just who you are. You make the world a better place."
C.T., Weatherford, TX
"I'm so very pleased to receive your email. I've been a fan of Replacements for many years and was thrilled to actually visit several years ago. Today I became an even bigger fan and committed supporter of Replacements, Ltd. because of your wonderful email of welcome and inclusion. I'm joining you in taking an unusual step--I never respond to mass emails. Thank you for your thoughtful and very personal message. I'll be placing an order soon in honor of your sons' 17th birthdays. July is the only cup and saucer I don't have in the Portmeirion Botanic Garden Flower of the Month collection and I just saw you now have it in stock!"
E.L., San Diego, CA
"I don't know if this will reach you, but I have to say I'm proud to be a Replacements, Ltd. customer and will remain so - now more than ever - partly because of your example of courage in speaking out like you did in this letter. I don't like labels because I believe that they proliferate divisiveness, but I believe that the sanctity of marriage is upheld by those that keep their commitments; no other value signifies. People that can't accept other's differences generally can't accept themselves either; it seems to me that anyone looking around can see that we are all different AND all the same. Gods Blessings on you, your relationships and your company and if you dont believe in God, then may whatever positive influences you believe in guide you!"
K.G., Glen Allen, VA
"We are a straight couple living just outside Richmond, Va. We have been allies of the LGBT community for years, very active in the fight for marriage. We realized recently how close we are to your showroom. We knew Replacements was gay-owned, so we were considering a trip to visit, probably a long weekend of tourist things in northern NC. We love B&Bs. No more NC trips planned for us. Not a dime in NC. Please let your county officials know. Let your local Chamber of Commerce know. We are not alone. My husband is on the board of a local LGBT foundation. Talk here is of cancelled vacations to Outer Banks. Like you, we love our LGBT friends. We hope you citizens of North Carolina can fix the ugly hatred your governor has enshrined in your law."
C.B., Watertown, MA
"Thanks shall you have for sharing your personal story with those of us who have usedand I will continue to use when necessaryyour companys services. Your courage in years past and currently is greatly admired. As the brother of a now deceased deaf brother, I, too, can give personal witness to our less than humane treatment of fellow human beings, not to mention fellow Americans. I am hopeful that all people of goodwill in your home state will awaken to and reject all past and present malevolent use of the law to perpetuate injustice and discrimination in any form and, further, that your fellow North Carolinians will have the insight, courage, and will to elect representatives to your state government who will enact laws and ordinances that more accurately reflect the true arc of history for your state and for our nation."
J.T., Sparks, NV
"Wow, Bob! Thank you so much for writing about this issue. We drove by your business on I-40 a few days ago. I have been a good customer of your merchandise for a few years now, and love the prompt attention, quality, and variety of patterns you offer. I didn't know you were gay or that this horrible bill passed in legislature, but I am entirely sympathetic to the rights of the LGBT community."
A.S., Flatrock, NC
"Bob - Thank you for your email. this is so hard to see in a state we now call our home. We retired to Western North Carolina three years ago from the Cleveland, OH area and are appalled by the short-sightedness 'our' governor has exhibited. Even though we are quite liberal in our politics, I don't see this as liberal, it's a humanitarian issue & our politicians should know better. The Supreme Court did! Best wishes to your wonderful family. We also have an adopted daughter who happens to have disabilities & challenges everyday. I just don't understand people sometimes. Instead of finding ways to bond, they focus on ways to be singular, negative & hurtful."
J.H., Durham, NC
"I've patronized your business many times and found it well run, expensive but worth it, and very handy. However, I have never received such a politically charged message from any business I have dealt with and which should be politically neutral. But should it be? One thinks of Ben & Jerry's, and the tidal wave of Hollywood which overwhelmed the Georgia bigots. I applaud your courage in 'coming out' to your customer base. (We knew your gayness already). You will doubtless lose business because of this, but you may also actually gain some more from other quarters. Would you consider dumping NC in favor of a more gay-friendly state, thus denying NC of millions in NC sales tax revenue? 'My experience of feeling like an outcast opened my eyes and my heart to all who have been judged for being different.' Different? Outcast? You are as American as a black, a Latino, a white, a Muslim, a Catholic, a Protestant, a gay, transgender, etc. etc. etc. IN DIVERSITY IS STRENGTH. The greatness of the USA lies in this diversity. The bigots in NC know that the national tide is turning against them so that's why they are pushing these bigoted laws thru in NC and all over our country funded by many rich bigots. They are winning now but in the end they will be defeated. They know, to their discomfort, that in today's America you are no longer so 'different'. I'm sure that your courageous action is applauded by many more than myself."
D.R., Stockton, CA
"What an important letter to your customers! You should be proud of this statement supporting the beauty and worth of ALL LGBT people, as well as the rest of the human family. I am a long-term customer of Replacements, Ltd. and now will be even more supportive. I am fortunate enough to be friends with a variety of lovely people - gay, straight and transgendered - and all have added goodness and joy to my life. To waste ones time on earth mired in hatred and fear is so very, very counterproductive. Those who do so are the losers - not the rest of us. As you have discovered, being a parent is the most satisfying of all of lifes experiences in my opinion. Your children are most fortunate to have you and Dale as parents. Have a terrific day - you have made mine!
A.W., Dallas, TX
"I am writing for my partner Annie, who cannot, because of the sweet tears of wonder, respect, and admiration as well as sincere emotion that is consuming her due to your letter to your clients over this law. We have used your service, been exceptionally pleased with response, product, and customer relations over the years, referring others as well. We are well into our 60's and have inherited, and broken lovely pieces! We are gay, and had no idea we were dealing with a gay owned company. So it's a revelation, and quite a pleasant one, to know we are supporting you. My partner has been out all her life, marching, fighting, writing checks, sitting on boards, and she was so overwhelmed and happy to get your letter, stating, "It's a new day, baby- a new day!" So thank you."
J.G., Fresno, CA
"My eyes tear up each time I read your thoughtful letter. And who could imagine a boy from a tobacco farm would have such elegant expression? We make presumptions every day. Some are accurate, and others are stupid and hurtful. My years in AA taught me that so many negative thoughts and beliefs are rooted in fear. Fear and love cannot co-exist. "We" are old enough to know that this legislative fear cannot thrive without being fed. More fear is just plain toxic. This is my one opportunity to thank all at Replacements for indeed saving my life. Back in 2001, I lost my mother, my career, my first born dog and even friends in AA. For 2 years I could not work and earn money to pay any bill. I emptied out most of my savings so I could do the right thing and pay my debts. Being a deadbeat was not tolerable. Then I became friends at an auction with two Star Suppliers. They were gracious enough to explain to me why they always had that index book with them. They did not fear me as competition, .... and 14 years later I am still here. I have passed the offer onto others. Indeed "you" are a business, but also to me, - like a family. I trust Replacements on all levels. I went from having no one and no future. Then I meet a business whose employees treat me better than my own sisters. You gave me a chance."
B.W., Mount Dora, FL
"Thank you for your beautiful letter. Our 25 year old gay son, who is working on his PhD (AIDS, STDs, the Pharmaceutical Industry and the convergence of all 3's impact on colonial and modern Africa is his topic area) at the University of Texas, has almost certainly had an easier time because of efforts such as yours. That said, we still worry at the profound ignorance and bigotry that still exists and manifests itself in our country. Frankly, at times we do worry for his safety. He works hard on campus to help others understand LGBT issues. We like to hope his work makes a difference. We hope you know that your advocacy and your stance on issues such as the one you now confront In North Carolina do make a difference now, and will continue to make a difference to future generations. We, of course, will continue to support your business. Thank you, once again, for your letter and your continuing advocacy for acceptance and equal treatment for all human beings."
L.S., Webster Groves, MO
"My wife and I received your email about HB-2. Please let me thank you for speaking so personally in what, for me, has always been a useful but impersonal, business environment. It was a bit jarring and seemed risky, I think - but if more of us had your courage, perhaps the things you speak of would be less common, and less troubling. You and I share the military, adoption from Asia - and a difficulty understanding the prejudices that HB-2 makes opportune. Your letter is heartfelt. Its reception, here, was also heartfelt. We'd like to meaningfully oppose HB-2, but are at a loss about how to be "meaningful," since we live in the Midwest. Your letter is also about you. Our daughter was adopted from China and turned 17 last week. I want to share something we tried to teach her about people like you: We encouraged her to believe that something special resides in certain people, and that when we encounter them - we will know. It's an important notion, because they're almost always people we learn to admire, whom we will be grateful for - who will enrich us. We will be drawn to them. Sometimes we'll find ourselves encouraged at the goodness of life, in general, because of them. It's an important notion, too, because such people act as a sort of signal fire to those of us trying to be a force for good in the world. Their example can equip us to be braver, wiser . . . better. We should recognize them and communicate with them while we can, because often we don't get to know them well, or for long -- and they are as disheartening to lose touch with . . . as they were exhilarating to discover in the first place. I believe you are such a person, Mr. Page. So when you take your signal fire home tonight, we send ours with you, along with -- we cannot help but believe -- the light of many, many others. Together, I hope we will make yours a place of great light. Thank you again for sending your letter. Thank you for having the courage to share with us what you are experiencing, and what you believe. We wish you every good and wonderful thing . . . every good and wonderful thing."