The last Sunday in September is Gold Star Mother's Day, a day meant for people to honor mothers who have lost a son or daughter while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
On Saturday night, former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush hosted a reception in their Dallas home for local Gold Star Mothers and Blue Star Mothers. Blue Star Mothers are mothers that have a soldier serving their country right now.
NBCDFW assignment editor Cynthia Garcia was invited to the reception as a Gold Star Mother.
On May 27, 2006, her son Corporal J. Adan "Adam" Garcia, 20, succumbed to the injuries he sustained five days earlier during combat in Iraq while serving as a Combat Engineer with the 10th Mountain Division of the United States Army.
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This is Cynthia Garcia's account of the reception at the Bush home in Dallas.
I attended the event as a Gold Star mother, only because I am always honored when someone continues to remember our soldiers who gave their lives for our freedom. I also wanted to meet the President and his wife. I had mentally prepared myself for a somber reception with a room full of crying mothers and just a heavy atmosphere, as these functions always bring back haunting memories for everyone.
I was nervous as I got out of my car and handed it to the valet in front of the Bush’s home and even more nervous to see the number of Secret Service agents at their posts keeping a watchful eye on everyone. I gave my name and showed my ID like I was asked and then I was taken inside. The home was full, about 80 women or so.
I was quickly taken to the Bush’s living room to have my picture taken with them. They hugged and kissed me and comforted me and thanked me for attending. I was greeted by them as if they had not seen an old friend in a long time. I felt calm and at ease. I had it together. I wasn’t about to break down. Not until he asked, tell me about your soldier.Then I lost it! Right before the picture was taken. Great!
We were then asked to take a seat as the President would welcome us and thank us for attending the reception. He went on to tell us how proud he is of our soldiers and how safe he always felt when being around them. Getting emotional at times he continued to thank us for raising such strong and unselfish men and women. He reminded us that our soldiers/children did not die in vain, and that our soldiers freed a lot of people and protected a lot of people for which he is eternally grateful. There was not a dry eye in the room. You can tell he is extremely patriotic.
The President then asked if we had any questions or comments. One mother went on to tell him how much people miss him and love him, he thanked her and in a laughing voice said "all except the guy that threw the shoe at me huh? Was that crazy or what?" We were all chuckling, then I said to him, 'that’s alright Mr. President, I’m Mexican, our mothers throw shoes at us all the time! I’m amazed you knew how to duck so fast!" The whole room chuckled and felt more at ease and continued to speak with him.
He asked us to please go eat some cheese and crackers otherwise he would be eating that for the rest of his life.
Mr. President came over to me at the cheese table and wanted to know more about my son. He thought I was pretty funny.
Thanks, Mr. President and Mrs. Bush, for a lovely reception.
The American Gold Star Mothers Inc., was founded in 1929 by 25 mothers in the Washington DC area. In June of 1936, a joint congressional resolution designated the last Sunday in September as Gold Star Mother’s Day.