MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - I suspect there are many young people who are not familiar with one of the great American editorials of the 19th century, so I'd like to share it with you.
In 1897 a young 8-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote the editor of New York's Sun newspaper saying:
"Dear Editor: I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, 'If you see it in The Sun it's so.' Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?"
The Sun's editor, Francis Church responded with an editorial. Here are a few excerpts:
"VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds…
"Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist …. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence …
"Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! … Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
"You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world … Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
"No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood."