Letter: An open letter to presidential candidate Nikki Haley

"Do you remember the elderly who never had a brain test yet had great impact on the world after they had celebrated their 75th birthday?" Ada, Minn. resident Annelee Woodstrom asks Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley.

Letter to the editor FSA

Dear Nikki,

In your announcement running for Republican candidate for president in 2024, you stated that politicians over 75 should submit to brain tests.

Do you remember the elderly who never had a brain test yet had great impact on the world after they had celebrated their 75th birthday?

You would do well to remember Gloria Steinem, 88, who is still speaking, writing and advancing feminism. Without her work you most likely would not be where you are today.

Let us recall those senior citizens who had no brain testsy and changed for the better the way we live today.



  • Buddha died when he was 80. Buddhism is one of the world’s major religions with 460 million followers.
  • Pope Emeritus Benedict died at 95. There are 1.2 billion Roman Catholics worldwide
  • Martin Luther, the reformer, 63, has 40 million followers world-wide


  • Mahatma Gandhi died at 78. Remember the changes he brought to India?
  • Sir Winston Churchill died at 90. He inspired and led England to victory against Germany in 1945.
  • Konrad Adenauer, 91 called the oldest head of government, was the leader of Germany after WWII.
  • Donald Trump, 74, 2016-2020 President of the United States. He is still under investigation.
  • Joe Biden, 80, Current President of the United States. Judgment depends on party.


  • Albert Einstein, 76, considered as one of the greatest and most influential physicists in the world.
  • Mother Teresa, 87, who tended and tried to heal the world’s poorest.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, 80. He guided America and the world through COVID-19.

Timeless beauty:

  • Michelangelo, 71, his paintings for centuries have inspired artists throughout the world.
  • Grimm Brothers, Jacob, 78 and Wilhelm, 73. Their fairytales are enjoyed by children world-wide.

These people contributed selflessly to today’s world and they enriched our lives.
Today’s grandmothers, in their 70s and 80s, take care of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren while their parents work.

Nikki, millions over 75 built America to where it is today. I resent your statement. I am an immigrant who in 1947 spoke five words of English. Since my family refused to join the Nazi Party, my education ended after eighth grade.

I was married, had two children. Yet, in 1967 I attended college; in 1970 I fulfilled my life’s dream. For 22 years I taught high school — English, psychology, mass media and I managed two libraries. In 1998, after six years of home care, my husband died. At age 72, I wrote War Child, published in 2003. In 2007, Empty Chairs was published. I was 89 in 2017, which is when And So It Was was published.

I am 96. I truly believe that we must remember our past history and that we must strive to learn from it or we will be condemned to repeat it.

Annelee Woodstrom is a resident of Ada, Minn.

This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

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