The White House Blog: Dr. Jill Biden

  • President Obama Commemorates Veterans Day

    This Veterans Day, the President honored those, past and present, who put on the uniform of the United States military and put their lives on the line.

    President Barack Obama greets Richard Overton

    President Barack Obama greets Richard Overton, with Earlene Love-Karo, in the Blue Room of the White House, Nov. 11, 2013. Mr. Overton,107 years old and the oldest living World War II veteran, attended the Veteran's Day Breakfast at the White House. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    On Monday morning, the President hosted a breakfast in the East Room of the White House for veterans and their families. In attendance was Richard Overton from Austin, Texas. Richard is the oldest living World War II veteran. The President honored the veteran in his remarks at Arlington National Cemetery, and thanked Richard for his selfless dedication and his courage when he faced adversity.

    That’s what we owe veterans like Richard Overton, who served in the Army in World War II. He was there at Pearl Harbor, when the battleships were still smoldering. He was there at Okinawa.  He was there at Iwo Jima, where he said, “I only got out of there by the grace of God.”

    When the war ended, Richard headed home to Texas to a nation bitterly divided by race.  And his service on the battlefield was not always matched by the respect that he deserved at home.  But this veteran held his head high.  He carried on and lived his life with honor and dignity.  


  • 'Joining Forces' with You on Veterans Day

    Ed. note: The following op-ed by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden appeared this morning on the following military news websites: Military Times, Army Times, Air Force Times, Marine Corps Times, and Navy Times.

    Over the past five years, the two of us have had the privilege of traveling across America and around the world to visit with our extraordinary troops, veterans and military families — and time and again, we have been awed by your service and sacrifice.

    We’ve been overwhelmed by the courage of our wounded warriors and the devotion of the caregivers who stand by their side. We’ve been inspired by the military spouses and children who’ve endured move after move, deployment after deployment with such strength and grace. And we’ve seen how, even after transitioning to civilian life, our veterans and military families continue to serve, volunteering countless hours in your communities for all sorts of important causes.

    That’s why, 2½ years ago, we decided that it was our obligation not only to tell you how much we appreciate everything you do for our country, but to show you by stepping up and giving you and your families the honor, recognition and support you’ve earned. That’s how Joining Forces was born.

    The goal of this initiative was to rally all Americans to step up and serve you as well as you have served this country. We challenged individuals, organizations and businesses across the country to make real, meaningful commitments to you and your families. And from the very beginning, we have been overwhelmed by the response. Here are just a few examples:

    Employment: It is simply unacceptable that men and women who serve this country so bravely abroad often struggle to find a good job once they return home. Our veterans are some of the most highly-skilled, hardest-working employees around. They thrive in fast-paced, high-pressure environments, and they’ve got extensive experience building teams, managing complex logistics, and dealing with cutting-edge technology.


  • Shining a Light on our Researchers, Doctors, Nurses, and Caregivers

    Dr. Jill Biden gives remarks at a breast cancer awareness month reception

    Dr. Jill Biden gives remarks at a breast cancer awareness month reception with Vice President Joe Biden, in the living room at the Naval Observatory Residence in Washington, D.C., Nov. 5, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Earlier this week, Joe and I hosted our 2nd Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Reception. We were joined by survivors, caregivers, families, doctors, researchers, and advocates who have all been touched by breast cancer.

    Each year, this reception is one of the most inspiring events that we hold at our home, and this year was no different. As I embraced both old and new friends, I was reminded of the bravery of the survivors and their loved ones. I saw the hope in their eyes, their unwavering spirit, and their determination to continue pushing forward.

    This year, we asked all of the survivors to invite someone who was important to them during their course of treatment. Joe and I know that the fight against breast cancer is not only limited to what the patient endures, but also extends to the family members, the caregivers, the doctors, and researchers who work day in and day out to save lives and support those that they love.


  • Honoring Our Wounded Warriors on September 11th

    Last night, Joe and I had the tremendous honor of hosting Wounded Warriors and their families from Walter Reed, Fort Belvoir, and Fort Meade at our home for a barbecue. I can think of no better way to commemorate the solemn anniversary of September 11, 2001 than by spending time with these incredible men and women who stepped up to serve our nation.

    Vice President Joe Biden watches First Lieutenant Jason Church as he hits a birdieball

    Vice President Joe Biden watches First Lieutenant Jason Church as he hits a birdieball, during a barbecue for Wounded Warriors and their families, at the Naval Observatory Residence, in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann) September 11, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

     

    As Joe said, their generation is “the most remarkable in the history of this country.” I could not agree more. Since September 11, 2001, more than 3.5 million men and women have volunteered to serve in the military, including more than a third who have deployed multiple times.

    I have many roles: Second Lady, teacher, grandmother, but one that I am most proud of is that of a military mom. Our son Beau served for a year in Iraq and our son Hunter is an ensign in the Navy. We understand that we are indebted not only to those that serve in uniform, but also to their families, who also serve in so many ways.

    That’s one reason First Lady Michelle Obama and I have spent the last few years working on our Joining Forces initiative, to find ways for all Americans to support our service men and women and their families. We have been inspired by the many ways community groups, businesses, teachers, doctors, nurses, and individuals have stepped up to help.

    Dr. Jill Biden chats with attendees during a barbecue

    Dr. Jill Biden chats with attendees during a barbecue that she and Vice President Joe Biden hosted for Wounded Warriors and their families, at the Naval Observatory Residence, in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann) September 11, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Less than one percent of the American population has served. But the other 99 percent of us owe them, and their families. As Joe said, our “admiration for you is beyond my ability to express.”


  • Remembering September 11th

    Today, we honor those who lost their lives on September 11th, 2001.

    At 8:46 AM, the time that the first plane struck the South Tower of the World Trade Center, President Obama was joined by the Vice President, the First Lady, Dr. Biden, and White House staff on the South Lawn to observe a moment of silence.

    Later that morning, the President, Defense Secretary Hagel, and other military officials attended the September 11th Observance ceremony at the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington. The President laid a wreath at the Zero Age Line and observed a moment of silence at 9:37 to honor the victims of the attack at the Pentagon.

    President Obama then delivered remarks to families of the victims, also honoring the four Americans who lost their lives a year ago today in Benghazi.

    They left this Earth. They slipped from our grasp.  But it was written, “What the heart has once owned and had, it shall never lose.”  What your families lost in the temporal, in the here and now, is now eternal. The pride that you carry in your hearts, the love that will never die, your loved ones’ everlasting place in America’s heart. 

    Pres Obama, Sec. Hagel and Gen. Dempsey at 9/11 Pentagon ceremony

    President Obama, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and General Dempsey attend the September 11th Observance Ceremony at the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, Sept. 11, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Read the President's full remarks from the September 11th Observance Ceremony

    Later this afternoon, President Obama also participated in a service opportunity with Food & Friends, a Washington-area organization that provides freshly-prepared meals to people living with life-challenging illnesses.


  • West Wing Week: 08/02/13 or "Let Us Be Awed By Their Shining Deeds"

    This week, the Vice President and Dr. Biden wrapped up a trip to India and Singapore, the President announced a bargain for middle class jobs, welcomed the Huskies and the Giants, the American Legion, Girls & Boys Nation, the President of Yemen, and civil rights leaders to the White House, and marked the 60th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice.


  • Thanking Service Members and Military Families Around the World

    Dr. Jill Biden talks with members of the USS Fitzgerald during their stop in Singapore

    Dr. Jill Biden talks with members of the USS Fitzgerald during their stop in Singapore. (Photo Credit: Jay C. Pugh)

    Before leaving Singapore this past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend a BBQ with U.S. service members and their families stationed in Singapore, as well as crewmen from the USS Fitzgerald, docked in Singapore at the time. Joe and I also visited with service members, their families, and DOD employees in Hawaii, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. When Joe and I travel, we love nothing more than to meet with our men and women in uniform and their families to thank them for their service and sacrifice.

    Military families face so many challenges, as spouses get deployed and families move around. When I was in Singapore, I met a woman who was in the Navy and she told me that this was her 14th move. As a military mom, I understand a bit of what these families are going through. Our son Beau was deployed for a year to Iraq as a member of the Delaware Army National Guard and our son Hunter is an Ensign in the Navy Reserves. This experience, as well as the joys and concerns we heard from military families as we traveled around the world led First Lady Michele Obama and I to start Joining Forces. It is our hope that we can rally all Americans to support our veterans and military families. Joining Forces brings together public and private resources to help with the employment, education, and wellness of our veterans, servicemen and women, and their families.


  • My Day in Singapore

    Joe and Jill Biden Orchid

    Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden receive a book from Dr. Nigel Paul Taylor, Director of National Parks, during a ceremony in which an orchid was named the Joe and Jill Biden Orchid, at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, in Singapore, July 26, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Today was our first full day in Singapore and there could not have been a more beautiful introduction than our tour of the Botanic Gardens. Singapore Botanic Gardens are known for their orchids and in 1957 the country began to name selected orchid hybrids after State Visitors to foster closer ties between nations. As an avid gardener, I am honored that they chose to name a deep purple Dendrobium orchid the “Joe and Jill Biden” during our visit today. We’ll bring some “Joe and Jill Biden” orchids back to DC to display at the Vice President’s Residence.

    After leaving the Gardens, we drove to Singapore’s new Green Children’s Library, which is made entirely out of recycled materials. Singapore boasts some of the most sophisticated libraries in the world and our partnership with the National Library Board (NLB) has proved to be a wonderful relationship for the U.S. Embassy. Earlier this year the Embassy partnered with the NLB on an e-reader program, allowing library visitors to check out electronic tablets that have access to thousands of book titles. The Embassy has donated over 400 e-readers, emphasizing the importance of education to both of our countries.


  • Empowering Women Through Education

    Dr. Biden meets with students in an English class

    Dr. Biden meets with students in an English class at the Anjuman-i-Islam Saif Tyabji Girl's school. (Photo Credit: Carrie Levay)

    As an educator, today was a special day for me in Mumbai. I visited the Anjuman-i-Islam Saif Tyabji Girl’s school. This all-girls Muslim school was founded in 1939 and serves 5,500 girls in grades K-12. The school has committed itself to being a dedicated public servant in the Mumbai area - many of the students are from local orphanages. I am happy to report that the US has recognized what an important role this school plays in the Mumbai community - we sponsor English classes and helped establish their computer lab. India and the US both understand the important opportunities education can provide - no matter the gender of the student. When the work force has access to education it creates more experienced workers as well as confident young women.

    When I arrived at the school I was greeted by a lively band and then stopped by an English class. In fact, I caught the beginnings of a lesson on "conjunctions!" One of the students, Miss Zafar, was a spirited emcee and gave me a wonderful introduction to all the students at a school assembly.


  • Caring for India's Women and Children

    Dr. Biden meets with community leaders, US and India agency officials, and NGOS

    Dr. Biden meets with community leaders, US and India agency officials, and NGOS to discuss joint efforts to end childhood malnutrition. (Photo Credit: Carrie Levay)

    Last June, the United States, India, Ethiopia, and UNICEF hosted the Global Child Survival Call to Action event in Washington, DC. In India, 43% of children under the age of five are underweight and 48% are chronically undernourished. To address this and other causes of child deaths that can be prevented, India issued a national Call to Action for Child Survival and Development to end all preventable child deaths by 2035.

    Yesterday I wrote about my time in Kachhpura and how they are working to end malnutrition. Today I attended a roundtable discussion with Government of Maharashtra Officials, USAID, UNICEF, Indian civil society and private sector representatives to learn about their efforts to improve nutrition across the country and to make available other proven health interventions to prevent child deaths, such as immunizations, clean water, and treatment of pneumonia and diarrhea.

    As a mom, this is a personal issue for me as no parent wants to see her child go hungry or be sick. I am inspired by how the communities that I have visited have launched into action to tackle this problem. I am heartened to learn of the joint efforts of the Indian government, civil society and private sector in close collaboration with the U.S. and UN Agencies to target children between 0 and 35 months old, one of the most vulnerable groups. I look forward to seeing their continued progress in the future.