May 10th, 2009
07:39 AM ET

Dear President Obama #111: My Mom says hi!

Reporter's Note: The President of the United States would like his nation’s citizens to take a direct role in the management of the country, by sending suggestions his way. When I’m not glued to the Stanley Cup playoffs, I try to oblige with a letter a day to Pennsylvania Avenue.

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Happy Mother’s Day. I know your mother passed away some years ago, and having lost my father just last year, I also know how difficult a parent’s death can be. On that front, my thoughts and best wishes are with you on this day, one son to another.

I’ve read a fair bit about your mother and she sounds like she was an interesting, adventurous, and idealistic woman. So I thought I should tell you a bit about my mother, too. Her name is June, and she was born deep in the Alabama countryside, on a red dirt road; the same road she lives on today…only now it is paved.

She met my father (an Air Force man as I have mentioned before) when he was stationed at Maxwell Field in Montgomery. He was from Chicago, like you, and they must have seemed an unlikely couple. She thought he was an arrogant, big city guy; and his parents thought she was a hillbilly. But they married. She traveled with him to South Dakota, Illinois, North Africa; she held the home front while he deployed to Korea, Alaska, and Guam.

Like so many military spouses who never get enough credit for serving our nation, she did not complain about the difficulties of juggling three children. Our lives were good. We were not wealthy, but we were not poor. We laughed a lot. Enjoyed the outdoors and each other’s company. We had pets. Learned to work, to worship, and want what we needed…not need what we wanted. And through it all, my mother was relentlessly strong, principled, decent, loving, compassionate, disciplined, and brave.

She loved sayings. When my heart was broken as a boy, she told me “All sunshine and no rain makes a desert.” When my moral compass spun out of control, she said “You have to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.” Once, when I was very young, and in the hospital with a serious lung problem…and night after night she sat by my bedside, reading Black Beauty through a tiny opening in the humidifier tent where I was confined.

I could go on for pages; about how she testified in a murder trial when she was still a teen; about how she danced at a school while Hank Williams played; or about the rattlesnake she killed on the porch with a hoe. But I could never do justice to her life or what it has meant to me, my sister, my brother, or my father who breathed his last with her at his side.

Not everyone has a good mother, and I find that terribly sad. Because I am lucky enough to have a mother who inspires me still, and reminds me of all the unnoticed, unheralded, and unimaginable good that mothers can do.

Don’t call today. I’ll be on the phone to her.



Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Gianny

    You just made me cry..

    May 11, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  2. Terry, TX

    Your best letter....

    May 11, 2009 at 9:10 am |
  3. angelina go

    very touching, your best dear Obama article

    May 11, 2009 at 6:36 am |
  4. ALI

    sorry guys thought i was emailing but it ended the wrong place!!

    anyway the letter make me cry!! happy late mothers day

    May 11, 2009 at 6:28 am |
  5. Alexander Tsvetkov, Russia

    Third time i read this your letter enjoying the beauty and harmony of your wisdom words.

    Love your mother's phrases like: “All sunshine and no rain makes a desert” and “You have to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything”.

    I admire how you finished the letter to the President of USA: "Don’t call today. I’ll be on the phone to her".

    May 11, 2009 at 6:27 am |
  6. J.V.Hodgson

    Not sure why you believe this is relevant to PresidentObama who seems to share your feelings and emotions.
    Frankly we all do. Mom's can chastise and scold us and sometimes even hurt us, but it's all for our benefit and part of growing up well which your mom seems to have succeeded in doing for you!
    Some single mom's might be better off under Obama's policies!
    Have a happy mothers day!

    May 11, 2009 at 6:14 am |
  7. Lampe

    Larry: You really make me laugh. You act like Obama is the first and only POTUS, that has dealt with the other parties policies of not being on board. Grow-up. Exactly how old are you any way? GWB, put up with The Dems, being against him, the same as his father, and Clinton put-up with Repubs being against him. That's just how it goes, maybe people like you who continue to cry about it, should be the ones to get the Hell out of this country. Now, I'm not saying that this policy is right, but it is what it is. So please stop acting like this is just some damn plot against Obama, he is not the first, nor will he be the last.

    May 10, 2009 at 9:23 pm |
  8. Mike

    I am writing after I saw the clip on Highway Robbery in Tenaha Tx. I have lived in Tenaha all my life. I do believe there is a lot of underhanded things going on with Tenaha Law Enforcement and the Shelby County DA. City Marshal Barry Washinton was once a Texas DPS Officer in Panola County. I have a good friend that was a deputy in Panola County until he saw the underhanded things going on there with Washington, then he resigned. He always said only a part of money and drugs were turned in. The rest was, well you know the rest of the story. The son of Mayor George Bowers was busted for drugs several times and only served a very short time of a long sentence. Now that he is out of prison. It's business as usual for the son. He's back to doing and dealing drugs and the law here seems to not care, because of who his Daddy is. The thing is, he was selling to kids then as I'm sure the Mayor's son is now. If the law here was so interested in stopping the drug problem. They would stop it in our home town. But, that won't happen because there is no money in it. It's obvious that the things aren't quite right here. Shelby County Tx is known as the Meth Capital in the Arklatex. They don't try to stop the problem here. Why should they bust a Meth Lab or dealer with a few hundred dolllars in their pocket? Ther's no money in that for themselves.

    May 10, 2009 at 8:27 pm |
  9. Neelima

    What a heartwarming letter, Tom. I love your stories as much as the style in which you deliver them. Now I see, where you get it from.

    May 10, 2009 at 6:55 pm |
  10. Nefira Mada

    Firstly; Happy Mother's Day to All those whom can enjoy it, and Secondly; my condolances to those whom have lost any important women in their lives, as it makes today difficult....

    This was Touching...
    I was raised by my grandmother, and now she lives in a Nursing Home, and is on Hospice Care. It scares me to think I might lose her before her time. She is one tough old Lady. She lived through WWII, and survived the Holocaust... Not surprising for a woman named after an Ancient Goddess of War. And I am grateful that everyone of the most important Life lessons I have ever needed to learn so far, I learned from her. She has been the only Mother figure I have in my life...
    In fact I just came from seeing her, and we just spent an hour talking about the dog she had as a little girl in Germany durring the War. I know on this Mother's Day, I am thinking much more than ever before about what it might be like with out her, and I know it'll be tough...
    I feel for the President. To have such a big and important job to do, and then on a Day like today, have to find time for a private moment with the family. That is what makes some of us different. I am not so certain I could put a hold on anything so personal. My family is so very important to me, and above work, above duty, and obligation, and above God, My family is always first in my life.

    May 10, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  11. Cadum

    It's lovely to read your letter Tom.
    You have a good Mother. God Bless You and Her.

    May 10, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  12. Pat, VA

    That was a great letter. I lost my mother 8 years ago and I still miss her.

    May 10, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  13. Diane

    What a wonderful and haertfelt letter. It brought tears to my eyes.I lost my Mother several years ago and this day is always so hard. Your Mother was a very wise and eloquint woman. Thank you for sharing.

    May 10, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  14. larry

    You are doing a great job Mr. President, in spite of the obstructionist "Party of No". The minority leaders in the house and senate are an embarrassment, as well as a thorn in the side of our country. Fair warning, minority leaders, shut the hell up and get on board, or get the hell out. this country has no time too placate spoiled childeren or tolerate temper tantrums.

    May 10, 2009 at 10:47 am |
  15. InsaneLoon

    A beautiful letter. Thank you for reminding us how lucky some of us are to have a mother that inspires us. I have only now realized the huge impact my Mum had on me and everything that I do each day. I think we all write better thank you notes to our Mums as we grow out of youth and rebellious years !

    May 10, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  16. Jose Carrasquillo Sr.

    If a person having difficulty to pay a 30 years mortgage, why can the bank extend the note to 40 years? this will lower monthly

    May 10, 2009 at 10:35 am |
  17. Jerry Bulachowski

    Words Of Wisdom

    It was once said that a black man would be president when pigs flew. Well behold, 100 days into his presidency--swine flu.

    May 10, 2009 at 10:30 am |
  18. Jayden,FL

    Really nice piece of writing Mr Foreman.

    May 10, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  19. Touching

    Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there. Growing up in a family with five kids and a father who was a teacher, I still can't remember feeling poor. My mother stayed home until we were old enough to "self-manage", but went to night school. When she graduated, she worked the off-shift as a lab tech and still continued going to school. When she graduated she, too became a teacher and continued going to school...attending two colleges at once, full time, in two separate cities, and made the Dean's List at both of them while doing so.

    Although they are now retired, my parents were stellar examples of how to do it right. We didn't have fancy toys, but were taught how to use our imaginations. Vacations were spent camping and fishing because it was cheap. We didn't have our first color TV until I was in high school in the 80's. However, we didn't need it, and rathered play outside, or sports. My parents kept us active and taught us strong work ethics. We did all our home repairs and improvements ourselves. As a result, I have the skills and confidence necessary to do pretty much everything myself and the dividends have paid handsomely.

    Now that they're retired, and having had the discipline to save, they enjoy their winters in Florida playing golf on the beach. They continue to volunteer at any number of places to include as substitute teachers for free. During my life, I've never heard them once complain about how tough it was, and 50 years later, having been through it all together, they're still happily married. A great deal of their success and mine still goes back to the sacrifices my mother made for the family. She's still a great source of wisdom and knowledge.

    To all the mothers who have placed themselves second and been there as a foundation for the family, THANK YOU!

    May 10, 2009 at 9:46 am |
  20. Anastasia Fitz

    Wow, absolutely beautiful!!!! So well written...if only I had the words to do the same about my mom!

    May 10, 2009 at 9:07 am |
  21. Colleen Parsons

    Beautiful, Tom. You are a proud a son. Your mother has done a fine job, and I'm certain this brought tears to her eyes - because it certainly did to mine.

    May 10, 2009 at 8:56 am |
  22. Ayse_London@twitter

    The sweetest Dear Mr President letter you have written.

    May 10, 2009 at 8:54 am |
  23. April

    This is beautiful.

    May 10, 2009 at 8:52 am |