Iraq — Family Matters Blog: First Lady, Dr. Biden Help Military Families

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.

Baghdad International Airport
Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden, vis­its with air­men on the flight­line at Bagh­dad Inter­na­tion­al Air­port before depart­ing Iraq, July 5, 2010. The Bidens spent Fourth of July week­end vis­it­ing U.S. troops and senior Iraqi lead­ers in Iraq.
DoD pho­to by Elaine Wil­son
Click to enlarge

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!

Michelle Oba­ma”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)