WASHINGTON, July 7, 2010 — After my whirlwind weekend in Iraq with Dr. Jill Biden that I shared in my last blog, I walked away with an even deeper appreciation for her efforts to support our troops and their families.
At every step of the way, Dr. Biden had a kind word or hug for a servicemember, and she encouraged troops to share their concerns with her, especially regarding family issues, so she and First Lady Michelle Obama could take action.
“It’s nice to hear what you’re experiencing, what we can help you with, what [First Lady] Michelle [Obama] and I should be working,” she told a group of Texas Army National Guard soldiers during a roundtable discussion. “We want to support you and hear what you have to say, and work on the issues that affect you and your families.”
While Dr. Biden was in Iraq, the first lady reiterated that message with a statement of her own issued July 4 urging Americans to support military families. I wanted to share this message in its entirety:
“Our military families are tested each day. Multiple and extended deployments mean that children often don’t see their moms or dads for long periods of time. Civilian spouses juggle the demands of work and family without their partners for long stretches of time. Family members serve as primary care givers for our wounded warriors, and too many families bear the heartbreaking reality of moving forward with their lives while keeping the memory of our fallen heroes alive.
“Through it all, military families contribute countless hours to supporting other military families, being role models to our children, and making communities stronger.
“A small percentage of Americans fight our wars, but we need 100 percent of Americans to support these brave men and women and their families back home.
“Here are some things you can do in your community to get started:
— Stay informed about the activities and concerns of military families in your community and across the nation;
— Take time out to get to know and express appreciation to military families;
— Help ensure military families have the opportunity to share their stories and voice their concerns in your community;
— Help ensure the places where you work, worship and participate in community life connect their activities to addressing military families’ unique challenges; and
— Identify opportunities in your communities to tap into the unique skills, experience and commitment to service our military families display each day.
“To all of our military families serving this Nation around the world, I offer my sincerest thank you. Your courage, service, and sacrifice are an inspiration to us all.
“Happy Independence Day, everyone!
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)