My son Matthew entered the U.S. ARMY immediately following high school back in 1997. I was so proud of my only firstborn son. He was so proud to serve his country and had hoped he'd become a doctor. It was 2004, and while serving two terms in Iraq, my son had called to tell me they had found a growth in his brain and would be flown back to Washington DC for immediate surgery. I immediately set out for DC. By the time I arrived, he had already had surgery and was in the ICU. When he awoke, he said, MOM, I WANT TO MEET MY BOSS! I looked at his then wife and asked, WHO does he want to see? She said, the President of the U.S. I said, OK, I have something to do and started to walk out. She said, you can't just walk into the White House and ask the President to see your son, especially in the middle of this war! I looked at her, knew what I had to do and walked out.
I asked hospital officials if my son could receive a picture, a message, a letter, anything from the President as he had served his country very well and I had no idea if he would survive. Just a few days later, my son was visited by a gentleman who wore a presidential lapel pin that read, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! My son jumped out of bed and saluted this representative of the White House. The man said the President would be in later that day. My son's face was lit up like the brightest star in the sky! He looked at me and said, Mom, how did you do that? I said, I love you kids more than anything, and I will attempt anything for you kids. I may not be rich but I have a mouth, baby!
Early that afternoon, President Bush and his beautiful wife Laura visited my son and spent about 11 minutes with him. He received a Presidential coin. He got his wish! I'm so happy that our President took the time to meet my son and give the entire fifth floor of Walter Reed Hospital a brief visit.
I deeply miss my son, SSG MATTHEW THOMAS CUNNINGHAM US ARMY. Not a day goes by I don't cry for him. I don't think I will ever be the same, but I thank God I was with him that horrible day he died in Nov 21, 2013. And I also thank God for having two beautiful daughters, Lisa Cunningham and Candace Cunningham who have helped me enormously deal with the pain. I love my kids so very much! Thank you girls for everything and everyday with me. I love you both to the end and back!