A Joining Forces Cookout with Military Families

Military Family Cookout at the New Hampshire National Guard Headquarters

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden visit with Gold Star families, Blue Star families, and service members and their families during a Military Family Cookout at the New Hampshire National Guard headquarters in Concord, N.H., July 24, 2011. The event was part of the Joining Forces initiative. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

Nothing says summer like a cookout and this past weekend First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden joined military families at the New Hampshire National Guard Headquarters in Concord for just that. Dr. Biden kicked things off by sharing her experience as a military mom:

My son, Beau, is a Captain in the Delaware Army National Guard and he recently spent a year in Iraq, so I know well the challenges that Guard families face when their soldiers are away.  And I also know how much it means when communities rally around family members who are managing in their soldier’s absence.

The First Lady and I came here today for a very simple reason: to say thank you to all of you for all of your service.  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.

The First Lady and I are working hard through our “Joining Forces” initiative to make sure that every American understands the sacrifices that each of you as family members are making for the security of our nation.

And we hope to inspire more communities around the country to reach out to military families like we are doing tonight in Concord and like I saw in Portsmouth...earlier today.

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden at a Military Family Cookout

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden visit with Gold Star families, Blue Star families, and service members and their families during a Military Family Cookout at the New Hampshire National Guard headquarters in Concord, N.H., July 24, 2011. The event was part of the Joining Forces initiative. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

The First Lady and Dr. Biden have been inspired by traveling the country and seeing how Americans are stepping up to support our military members and their families. That is why they just announced the Joining Forces Community Challenge, which will recognize individuals and groups around the country who are making a difference in the lives of military families. As the First Lady said at the cookout, those who serve and their families represent the very best of America:

All of you are perfect examples of the 9/11 Generation. You’ve gone through unprecedented deployments. You’ve helped to defend our security through a decade of war. And you’ve strengthened our country not just as National Guardsmen and Reservists, but as teachers and as firefighters and businessmen and women, as well.

You represent the very best of America –- a devotion to family, to community, and to country. And I just want to tell you that Jill and I could not be more inspired by all of you.

You all are the reasons why Jill and I have launched this nationwide initiative that we’re calling Joining Forces because we want this entire country to recognize, and honor, and support our military members and their families. We want you to know that this country has your back.

First Lady Michelle Obama meets with a Family at a Joining Forces Cookout

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden visit with Gold Star families, Blue Star families, and service members and their families during a Military Family Cookout at the New Hampshire National Guard headquarters in Concord, N.H., July 24, 2011. The event was part of the Joining Forces initiative. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

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