First Lady, Dr. Biden ‘Join Forces’ With Guard, Reserve
By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 25, 2011 First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, took their “Joining Forces” campaign to New Hampshire yesterday, telling National Guard and reserve families to “keep doing what you’re doing,” while they work to support military families in the best ways possible.
Obama and Biden delivered messages of thanks at a Joining Forces military family cookout in Concord before going table to table asking families what their campaign could do for them.
“We have a very simple message, and that is to say thank you,” Obama said. “Thank you for your service. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for everything that you have done for our country.”
Biden, whose son is an officer in the Delaware National Guard, said she and Obama are working “to make sure every American understands the sacrifices that each of you, as family members, are making for the security of our nation.”
“You and your family -- service members around the country and the world -- inspire us with your strength and your resilience, and that applies especially to the family members of all ages who are here today,” she said.
Biden, a community college professor with a doctorate in education, announced that the two are launching the Joining Forces Community Challenge to recognize those around the country who are making a difference in the lives of military families. Groups and individuals can be nominated on the Joining Forces website.
“Every American has the ability to make a difference in the life of a military family,” she said. “That’s what our Joining Forces initiative is all about.”
Obama said she has learned from visiting military families around the country that “you all are doing phenomenal things that we want this entire country to know.”
“You are moms who are trying to build careers while taking night classes,” she said. “You’re dads who coach Little Leagues and who help out with projects in your own communities. You all are teenagers who study hard and take on extra responsibilities when Dad or Mom is serving overseas.
“All of you are perfect examples of the 9/11 generation,” she added. “You’ve gone through unprecedented deployments. You’ve helped to defend our security through a decade of war.”
National Guard and reserve members strengthen the country not just through their military service, but as teachers, as firefighters and in business as well, Obama said.
“You represent the very best of America -- a devotion to family, to community, and to country,” she said. “And I just want to tell you that Jill and I could not be more inspired by all of you.”
Obama said she and Biden also have learned from military families how difficult deployments and relocations are on them. Besides the usual challenges of moving to a new area, going to new schools and having to make new friends, she said, military families frequently struggle to keep a spouse employed, particularly with different state licensing laws, and with getting new school systems to accept all of their children’s credits.
“We’re trying to get rid of those headaches for you,” Obama said.
While there have been improvements in those areas, she said, the Joining Forces initiative’s work has just begun.
“We’re going to keep pushing on tough, complicated issues that you’ve probably been struggling with for years and years,” the first lady said. “We’re going to keep bringing more people and more businesses and more organizations into the fold.”