Getty Images, photo by Hulton Archive

Yesterday, August 25, is the day Samantha Smith from Manchester, Maine died in a plane crash, but she will be remembered forever as the Manchester Elementary School fifth grader who wrote to Soviet President Yuri Andropov worried about nuclear war.

Samantha was considered a 13 year old ‘ambassador’ to the Soviet Union after she wrote a letter in late 1982 to the Soviet President worried that the United States and Russia would engage in nuclear war. A few months later the letter was reprinted in Russia and it was announced the Russian President was writing a response. Calling Samantha courageous and honest, she was invited to visit the Soviet Union. Samantha and her parents embarked on a two week trip to the U.S.S.R. and she was a hit among the people in that country although she never meet with Andropov.

For the next two years she became a goodwill ambassador throughout the United States and foreign nations. On August 25, 1985, the small plane she and her father were traveling in crashed killing both. Her mother began the Samantha Smith foundation with its goal of bring people all over the world to share their experiences. Samantha Smith is honored with a statue outside the Maine State Museum in Augusta.