First Lady Plans ‘Joining Forces’ Events
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jul. 19, 2011 First Lady Michelle Obama will take part in three events over the next several days to promote “Joining Forces,” a national initiative that mobilizes all sectors of American society to support service members and their families.
The first lady and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, have made numerous appearances to widen the program’s reach.
“This campaign is about all of us -- all of us joining together as Americans to give back to the extraordinary military families who serve and sacrifice so much every day so we can live in freedom and security,” Obama said during an event earlier this year.
At another event, Dr. Biden echoed the sentiment. “The first lady and I are spreading the word to all Americans that everyone can play a part in making our military families feel appreciated and supported,” she said.
On July 21, Obama will visit Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va., to tour the youth program’s summer camp. As part of the Joining Forces Movie Series -- in which major movie studios including Warner Brothers, Disney, Universal and Fox are hosting special movie screenings for military families -- the first lady will welcome hundreds of local military families to a special screening of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.” President Barack Obama kicked off the Joining Forces Movie Series last month with a screening of Disney’s Cars 2 at the White House.
The same day, Obama will travel to Fayetteville, N.C., to participate in an “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” episode featuring the Marshalls, a military family. Barbara Marshall is a 15-year Navy veteran who is working to end homelessness among female veterans.
Marshall created The Steps-N-Stages Jubilee House, which provides homeless female veterans with housing and support services. The first lady and the “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” team will help to build a new Jubilee House that can serve multiple families and act as a resource center for female veterans.
On July 24 in Manchester, N.H., the first lady and Dr. Biden will host a Joining Forces event for National Guard and Reserve families in the early evening. Earlier in the day, Dr. Biden will visit the Portsmouth area to meet with New Hampshire National Guard family support providers and attend a local military families appreciation event.
Obama has noted that she and Dr. Biden aren’t alone as they champion the Joining Forces program. The federal government, businesses and nonprofit organizations, and the entertainment and sports industries also are helping to ensure military families receive the support they need.
“Jill and I believe that everyone -- everyone -- can do something, even boys and girls,” the first lady said. “Everyone can do something to support a military family. And everyone can ask themselves, ‘What can I do? How can I give back?’”