This post originally appeared on the White House blog on April 13, 2011.
Yesterday, the President, Vice President, First Lady and Dr. Biden launched Joining Forces, an unprecedented national initiative to support and honor our military families. “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 that we can live in freedom and security,” said First Lady Michelle Obama.
Joining Forces aims to educate, challenge, and spark action from all sectors of our society – citizens, communities, businesses, non-profits, faith based institutions, philanthropic organizations, and government – to ensure military families have the support they have earned.As part of Joining Forces, businesses and organizations, including some of the best know names and brands, announced major new commitments to support military families in the areas of employment, education and public awareness.
As the First Lady said, “our motto is simple: Everyone can do something.” Find out how you can get involved at JoiningForces.gov.Watch a video of the launch event above, read full remarks here or see excerpts below:
The Vice President:
All Americans should know that one act of kindness extended to a family of a soldier, a sailor, or a Marine, a Coast Guardsman, reverberates across water, over the mountains, and through the deserts, into the heart of the warrior who is standing there alone, thinking as much about his family as his family is thinking about him or her. I promise you, I promise you, all those of you who are listening on the television or radio, it matters. It matters.
In our travels, Michelle and I have seen many teachers who are making a real difference for the military children in their classrooms -- teachers who arrange parent-teacher conferences by Skype so deployed parents can participate; or teachers who encourage students to tape a photo of their deployed parent to their desk so they can look at it whenever they feel the need; or teachers like the one in my granddaughter’s classroom who hung up a photo of my son’s deployed unit so the whole class would know that Natalie’s dad was at war.
Believe me, that photo of her dad on the wall meant the world to Natalie, and it meant the world to me and Joe, too.
These teachers and all the other individuals and groups across the country who are supporting our troops and their families are showing all Americans that there are countless ways to help -- some large, and many small, but all important.
Whenever I’m with our troops overseas, when I ask them what we can do for you, there’s one thing they request more than anything else: “Take care of my family.” Take care of my family. Because when our troops are worried about their families back home, it’s harder for them to focus on the mission overseas. The strength and the readiness of America’s military depends on the strength and readiness of our military families. This is a matter of national security. It’s not just the right thing to do; it also makes this country stronger.
The First Lady:
So, Jill and I truly believe that if enough people across this great country realize just how much our military families do for us, and if we look in our own lives to see what we can offer, then there is absolutely no limit to what we can do together to keep these families, and our country, strong. And if we do this, if we come together, I know that we’ll come closer to our vision of a nation that truly recognizes and honors our military families.
It’s an America where every soldier, sailor, airman, Marine and Coast Guardsman -- and woman –- can deploy knowing that their family will be taken care of back at home.
It’s an America where every military spouse has the support that he or she needs to keep their family strong and thriving.
It’s an America where every military child has the support they need to grow and learn and realize their dreams.
It’s an America where our veterans and their families, especially our Gold Star families who have sacrificed so much, are honored throughout the entirety of their lives.
In short, we see a nation where more Americans across every sector of society are Joining Forces on behalf of our military families.
And believe me, this is going to remain one of my defining missions as First Lady.
So I thank you all for joining us to help make this happen. And Jill and I hope that this campaign will be worthy of the service and sacrifice and strength of every single military family in this country, and that it will make a real difference in their lives for years to come.