This is Michael. On this Friday past, Melissa was sworn in as a citizen of the United States. I want to take a few minutes to write about this event, and how proud her family and I are of her for what she is as Cannon's mom and as a mother, a wife and now a citizen of both the United Kingdom and the United States.
What does it mean to be an American citizen? What is the value of citizenship in the United States? Why was it so important for Melissa and us as a family for Melissa and the boys to have both their British and US citizenship status? We wanted Olivia, Cannon, Gray and Arran to know that we are proud to live in America, to vote and have freedoms AND responsibilities, and that we celebrate Melissa's Scottish heritage by having dual citizenship for her and the 3 boys so that we can honor both countries. The value of that? Unknown and not able to be calculated---truly priceless.
As all know that have followed Cannon's fight against cancer, Melissa is an amazing mother to our children. She works tirelessly for the kids to have constructive playtime, activities, nutritious meals and fun and safe environments. I can honestly say that Melissa was born to be a mother, and I can't think of a greater compliment other than to say she is a fantastic wife and life partner and my best friend. I am so proud of her accomplishments, and am amazed and impressed almost every day with how she handles 3 boys under 4, Olivia's high school days, works for our childrens' cancer foundation and organizes Cannon's continuing treatment.
Believe me, when Melissa leaves the house to go to a meeting or an event or just for a short break or run an errand, all 3 of the boys start wailing and running to the door because they know that Dad is in charge and things are going to be a lot different and not for the better for them! It is funny to see how the twins will scrunch up their faces at the prospect of being left with Dad....and I don't take this as a negative for me, but rather as a compliment to mom.
Friday morning, I witnessed Melissa and 82 others raise their right hand and be sworn into citizenship of our country. An amazing and emotional process. Wow. Most know that Melissa and I are very big supporters of our military, our veterans, our policemen, firemen and first responders----all very special people that we are so fortunate to have and have had. I have written before about growing up the son of a career military father, and the life changing impact of walking cemetaries in Normandy, Bayeaux, and Arlington. Sacrifices made that could never be repaid. America is the country of freedom to citizens, rights afforded to citizens, and priveledges granted, some just by the very nature of being inside its borders. All of this was gained and fought for, and now preserved, by our veterans and our members of the armed forces, our policemen, firemen and first responders. Thank you to all. The sacrifice of one's life for their country, or, to risk life everyday to protect our way of life, is to us the greatest honor of all.
For anyone that would dispute that, I would say this: No other country in the world has so many people that want to come here. Our country was founded by European immigrants that included the Scots, the English, the Irish, Germans, French and Dutch. We now have another Scot, and I will guarantee that America is better today with Melissa as its citizen.
We pray every single day (another freedom of living in the US) that Cannon will grow up to be a healthy boy and cancer free, and we also pray for those children still in the fight against all forms of childrens' cancers, and especially for the souls of children so unjustly and unnecessarily lost to cancer. We are fortunate to have the healthcare system that represents the most advanced treatment in the world, and while I rail on and forever about the lack of research for childrens' cancer and lack of advanced treatments for kids suffering from cancer, we know that America is where the opportunity to change and cure cancer in children exists. Melissa and I are critical of many aspects of treatment of children diagnosed with cancer, but because we are Americans, we don't face the prospect of being jailed for doing so, and push forward knowing that efforts like Cannonball Kids' cancer Foundation can and will make a difference.
Thank you to all that support and follow Cannon and our newest American citizen, Melissa. Cannon has a fight and an inner strength that is beyond description, and he needed it in his darkest hours after tumor resection surgery, during stem cell transplant, radiation and the 6 months of antibody immunotherapy----all very taxing, painful, and in some instances, life threatening days and nights. He used it again Friday when he was fitted for hearing aids, necessary because of the harsh chemotherapy treatments he endured in initial cancer tumor protocol. I know he got that strength from his mum, a true Scot with incredible inner strength and resolve to never give up. Celebrate Cannon's mum today and this week---a fantastic lady and one to be admired.