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Family Matters Blog: Blogger Interviews First Lady, Dr. Biden

By Elaine Sanchez
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 13, 2011 – Yesterday, I attended a briefing at the White House in which the nation’s top leaders announced a national campaign that aims to bring together every sector of this nation -– from individuals and communities to businesses and nonprofits -– to support and honor service members and their families.

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Elaine Sanchez, American Forces Press Service reporter and Family Matters blogger, interviews First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden at the White House, April 6, 2011. DOD photo by Linda Hosek.

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Speaking to a packed crowd of government officials, troops and their families, President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden each expressed their enduring admiration and gratitude for military families and their excitement at launching the “Joining Forces” campaign.

Last week, I had the opportunity to sit down with the first lady and Dr. Biden in an interview at the White House to discuss this initiative and what sparked them to create it. I’ve been an admirer of their family-support efforts for some time, and was excited that I had the chance to sit down with them one on one at such a pivotal time.

Seated side by side, they told me they created this campaign to raise awareness of military families and the level of sacrifice they make, and to ensure they’re offered the support and care they deserve.

Many Americans are unaware of the challenges military families face daily, they said. This is compounded by the fact that military families, accustomed to exhibiting strength and resilience, often won’t ask for support.

Obama and Biden would like to create a nation that offers that support in abundance so families never again have to request it.

“I hope we never ever have again a military family who says, … ‘I just don’t think Americans appreciate what we do,’” Biden said. “I want them to know and feel they’re appreciated.”

Through the campaign, Obama and Biden will call on every sector of society to take action to ensure troops and their families have the support they need and deserve. They already have numerous commitments, they said, ranging from the corporate world to the entertainment industry to government agencies.

“This campaign is about renewing those bonds and those connections between those who serve and the rest of those who live free because of their service,” the first lady said.

Today, Obama and Biden embarked on a two-day tour of the nation to spotlight America’s efforts to support military families and to provide examples for others to follow. At each stop they’ll ask Americans: “How can I give back to these families who are giving me so much?”

I’ll be traveling to Columbus, Ohio, tomorrow to attend one of their family-support events. Check back here for my coverage of that event.

In the meantime, for more on my interview with Obama and Biden, read my American Forces Press Service article, “First Lady, Dr. Biden to Shine Light on Military Families.” For more on yesterday’s announcement, see “White House Urges All Americans to ‘Do Something'" and “Military Family Support a ‘National Priority,’ Obama says." To find out more about the campaign, visit the Joining Forces website.

For more on Family Matters, visit the blog, or check out Family Matters on Facebook or Twitter.

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageElaine Sanchez, American Forces Press Service reporter and Family Matters blogger, poses with First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden after their interview at the White House, April 6, 2011. DOD photo by Linda Hosek  
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