President Abraham Lincoln once summoned an Army surgeon to the White House. The major assumed that he was to be commended for some exceptional work. During the conversation Mr. Lincoln asked the major about his widowed mother. “She is doing fine,” he responded.
“How do you know?” asked Lincoln. “You haven’t written her, but she has written me.” Lincoln continued, “She thinks that you are dead, and she is asking that a special effort be made to return your body.”
At that, the Commander-in-Chief placed a pen in the young doctor’s hand and ordered him to write a letter letting his mother know that he was alive and well.