NASCAR Event Shows Pride in Military Families, First Lady Says
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 21, 2011 A barbecue at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida before the Ford 400 NASCAR race is the latest example of the pride Americans have in their military families, First Lady Michelle Obama said yesterday.
At the event -- held in conjunction with the White House’s “Joining Forces” initiative, which fosters public and private-sector support for service members, veterans and their families -- Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, thanked military families for their service and highlighted their resilience.
Tony Stewart won the race and the 2011 NASCAR crown, but military families received a share of the applause at the speedway.
“The fact that NASCAR is taking the time … during what is probably the most tense time of their whole race season -- that they’re putting the focus on all of you -- is just what we want you to know,” the first lady told the military families at the event. “This is how much your country is willing to step up.”
NASCAR is one of thousands of businesses, organizations, educational institutions and plain folk who step forward for service members and their families because they know what they owe military personnel, Obama noted.
“We know you guys are moms … and dads juggling it all alone while someone is deployed,” she said. “For all the military kids out there, we want the whole country to know we know that you’re sacrificing as well. That it’s not easy to have your mom and dad away from home for long periods of time, but you guys are strong. You guys are leaders in your own right.”
Obama and Biden said they want Americans to think of service members and their families all times of the year, not just during special occasions.
“We want to make this a part of the dialogue in this country forever,” the first lady said. “This is about the way we want this country to talk about our troops, veterans and military families forever. We want you to feel that appreciation and that gratitude so that you know your sacrifice is not in vain. People care about you. They care about what you’ve done, and this is just our way of shining whatever spotlight we have on the sacrifices that you make.”