[Nfbc-info] Letter to Louis Braille

Peacefulwoman89 at cox.net Peacefulwoman89 at cox.net
Sun Mar 18 04:42:38 UTC 2018

I copied this letter from the NFB Kentucky Cardinal. 



Lisa Irving


Dear Mr. Louis Braille,


I want you to know that you are my hero.  That seems a little strange
because you lived 200 years ago, far across the Atlantic Ocean in France,
but yes, you are my hero. I am a literate blind adult.  What a precious gift
you gave to me, the gift of literacy.  Every day I use the special code of
raised dots that you created and that bare your name.  I read these dots
with my fingertips because I too am blind.  Because of you I am a teacher,
and I teach blind children to grow up and be literate blind adults.  Your
genius and ingenuity change the world for blind people everywhere!  Thank
you for being you!


Yes, you are my hero.  My lifelong dream was to take a pilgrimage to France
to visit your birthplace and to pay my respects at your tomb.  In 2012, my
dream became a reality.  I and three other blind friends traveled to Paris
and Coupvray, France.  


Coupvray was a lovely little hillside village, and the residents were most
friendly and helpful.  Your sturdy stone home was welcoming and cozy.  I
imagined you as a little boy playing there in front of the fireplace while
your mother cared for your family.  As I walked around the house and up the
hill to your father's harness shop, I imagined you as a youngster playing in
the yard.  In your father's shop I explored the various tools and harnesses
like your father used in his trade.  I remember the feel of your father's
workbench under my fingertips.  The wood was so old; it nearly seemed to
feel like stone.  I thought of you playing there.  You would have felt quite
big and important as you played with your father's tools and scraps of
leather.  Then, I thought of your injury: the pain, the tears and the blood
after the sharp tool hit your eye.  I imagined your parent's distress, as
they could do nothing to relieve your pain.  I thought of their fear and
heartbreak at your loss of vision.  But, little did they know the purpose
that God had for your life.  Through your pain and suffering, you have
changed the lives of countless blind persons from all around the world for
generations and for many generations to come.  


Next, we went into the museum.  I enjoyed seeing the different exhibits.  I
enjoyed seeing the slates.  French slates are different from the ones we
have in the United States.  The one I remember was made from plastic, so it
wasn't old.  It was narrower than I have seen here.  I also remember a
tactile globe, but the most amazing thing that I saw was your tin cup.  This
was the tin cup that you used when you were a student at the National
Institute for the Blind in Paris.  There was a Braille number embossed on
the side of the cup to indicate who it belonged to.  As I held your cup in
my hands, I thought of your hands holding this same cup.  I was amazed and


Back in Paris, I visited your tomb at the Pantheon.  I know that you were
originally buried in your hometown of Coupvray, but in 1952, your remains
were brought to Paris to be entombed in a place of honor among France's
notable figures.  The guides at the Pantheon were so accommodating.  They
opened the gate that blocked the entrance to your tomb.  We were allowed to
go inside and stand beside your tomb.  I reached up to touch your tomb.I had
to reach high, but with my fingertips, I could touch the metal plate
embossed with your name.  As I read your name, tears began to stream down my
face.  As I cried, I thought of you, your life and the hardships you faced.
I thought of your genius, your persistence and your courage.  You made the
most profound impact on my life.  On the display just outside your tomb,
there was a raised-line replica of your signature.  As I traced your
signature with my fingertips, I imagined you writing your name with your own
hand.  I listened to the recording of Helen Keller's speech that she gave on
the day your remains were brought from Coupvray to the Pantheon.  I spent
quite a long time there by your tomb.thinking about you and your legacy.
The guides were a bit curious about my emotional reaction to your tomb.
They kept checking to see if we were ready to move on, but I needed time to
be near you.  As I planned my visit to Coupvray and the Pantheon, I never
imagined what an emotional experience I would have.  Thank you for being
you.  Thank you to your parents for their courage and love as they allowed
you to attend the National Institute for the Blind, so far away in Paris
where you could be educated.  Their courage in allowing their young blind
son to go so far away from home paved the way for you to invent your Braille
Code.  Thank you for taking a tragic experience and turning it into
something so incredible.  You lived your life in the fullest way possible in
19th century France.  I owe you so much.  Thank you for being who you are
and for paving the way to make me who I am.  You are my hero!


With all love and respect,


Lora Felty Stephens 


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