The White House Blog: The First Lady
- Posted byon January 4, 2013 at 3:55 PM EDT
The White House photo team has a front row view for all the events — both big and small — that take place at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., as well as on the road with the President, the Vice President and the First Family.
Each January, Pete Souza, Chief Official White House Photographer and Director of the White House Photography Office, selects his favorite images from the past twelve months, and now, we're sharing them with you. Featuring exclusive perspectives of everything from Presidential trips and events to private moments between President Obama and his family, his staff and American citizens, this collection offers a unique view of 2012.
- Posted byon December 28, 2012 at 12:04 PM EDT
Continuing what has become an annual tradition that is a highlight of their holiday celebrations, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama spent some time on Christmas Day at the Marine Corps Base in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
Obviously, the greatest honor I have as President is being Commander-in-Chief. And the reason it’s an honor is because not only do we have the finest military in the world but we also have the finest fighting men and women in the world. And so many of you make sacrifices day in, day out on behalf of our freedom, on behalf of our security.
And not only do those in uniform make sacrifices, but I think everybody here understands the sacrifices that families make each and every day as well. And Michelle, working with Dr. Jill Biden, has done a lot of work to focus attention on our military families to make sure that you get the support that you have earned and that you deserve.
So I’m not going to make a long speech. Obviously, we’re still in a wartime footing. There are still folks, as we speak, who are overseas, especially in Afghanistan, risking their lives each and every day. Some of you may have loved ones who are deployed there. Some of you may be about to be deployed there. And so we know that it’s not easy. But what we also want you to know is that you have the entire country behind you, and that all of us understand that we would be nowhere without the extraordinary service that you guys provide.
And so we want to say thank you, we love you.
- Posted byon December 24, 2012 at 2:00 PM EDT
Paying a visit to the young patients at the Children's National Medical Center is a holiday tradition that dates back to the 1950s, when Bess Truman was First Lady. When First Lady Michelle Obama stopped by earlier this month with Bo, she took some time to read the holiday classic, "A Visit from St. Nicholas", which is better known to many Americans as "Twas the Night Before Christmas".
Weekly Address: The President and First Lady Extend a Holiday Greeting and Thank our Troops for their ServicePosted byon December 22, 2012 at 6:30 AM EDT
In this week’s address, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, and thank our brave troops and their families for their service. The President and First Lady ask the American people to visit JoiningForces.gov to find ways to honor and support our veterans and military families, and say that we must all come together, as we always do, to care for each other during this holiday season.
- Posted byon December 21, 2012 at 1:00 PM EDT
In an open letter to parents, First Lady Michelle Obama offers some ideas for discussing the tragedy in Newtown with children and young people. Read the First Lady’s letter below:
Like every American, Barack and I are absolutely heartbroken about the unspeakable tragedy that occurred last week in Newtown, Connecticut. And like so many of you, our first reactions were not as a President and First Lady, but as a Mom and Dad. We were asking ourselves, what if this had been our town, or our school, or our girls?
And we know that all across the country, it’s not just adults who are asking questions right now – our children are looking for answers as well. Like us, they want to know, why did this happen?
Could it happen again? And as parents, all of us can take the time to hold our kids close and talk with them about the things that truly matter: our love for them, the importance of extending that love to those affected by this tragedy, and how that love truly defines our great American community.
We can tell our kids that we’re doing everything we can to keep them safe and make sure they feel loved – and so are their teachers, coaches, faith leaders, Scout leaders and everyone else who plays a role in their lives.
We can remind them to be grateful for the educators who work every day to help them achieve their dreams – and for the first responders who risk their lives at a moment’s notice to protect ours.
We can tell them about the extraordinary people of Newtown and how they have responded to unspeakable tragedy: the educators who sprang into action; the children who carefully followed instructions and comforted each other amidst the chaos; the neighbors and faith leaders who have come together to support one another.
And finally, we can tell them that it’s our job now to stand with the people of Newtown – to pray for them and to find ways, large and small, to show them that they are not alone in their grief. It is now up to us to carry the memory of those who were lost in our hearts and to follow their example every day, living our lives as they lived theirs – with courage, determination, hope and love. Those are the values that give us our strength as Americans and that we return to in times of crisis – not just because they help us heal, but because they define who we are, as a people and as a nation.
May the memories of those we lost be a blessing to their families, their community and our country, and may God be with the people of Newtown as they begin the slow and painful work of healing and moving forward.
- Posted byon December 21, 2012 at 1:00 AM EDT
Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, the President addressed the national tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, and promised meaningful action to address gun violence. The White House also hosted some of its newest Pinterest followers, and the President spread some holiday cheer.
- Posted byon December 14, 2012 at 10:52 AM EDT
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on Thursday welcomed friends and leaders from the Jewish community to celebrate the sixth night of Hanukkah. In his remarks, the President remembered the enduring story of resilience and optimism that is the essence of this holiday:
Over 2,000 years ago, a tyrant forbade the Israelites from practicing their religion and his forces desecrated the Holy Temple. So Judah Maccabee gathered a small band of believers to fight this oppression, and against all odds, they prevailed. And the Maccabees liberated Jerusalem and restored the faith of its people. And when they went to reclaim the Temple, the people of Jerusalem received another gift from God -- the oil that should have lasted only one night burned for eight. That miraculous flame brought hope and it sustained the faithful.
To this day, Jews around the world honor the Maccabees' everlasting hope that light will overcome the darkness, that goodness will overcome evil, and that faith can accomplish miracles.The celebration this year was a tribute to more recent examples of resilience and optimism as well. The 90-year-old menorah used in the ceremony came from the Temple Israel synagogue in Long Beach, New York, which was badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy. It served as a symbol of perseverance, and as a reminder of those who are still recovering from Sandy’s destruction.
This was not the first year that Rabbi Larry Bazer, the Joint Forces Chaplain for the Massachusetts National Guard, was asked to light the candles at the White House Hanukkah celebration. Last year, Rabbi Bazer was unable to attend because he was four months into his deployment in Afghanistan, and he spent every night of Hanukkah with a different group of soldiers. As President Obama noted, "he had a pretty good excuse" for turning down that invitation.
Update: Learn more about the 2012 White House Menorah in this video:
- Posted byon December 11, 2012 at 6:05 PM EDT
First Lady Michelle Obama is escorted by SSgt Joel Vazquez as she arrives with a sack full of toys at the Toys for Tots Distribution Center at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C., Dec. 11, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
First Lady Michelle Obama today stopped by a Toys for Tots service project at the Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling -- a naval installation along the Potomac River in Washington DC -- with “boxes and boxes” of gifts that were donated by White House staffers, American CEOs, and even First Daughters Malia and Sasha.
As she thanked the volunteers and donors working to make this holiday season special for those who are less fortunate, Mrs. Obama noted that it was especially meaningful to attend the event on a military base, since Toys for Tots was started by a military family -- a Marine reservist and his wife who decided that they wanted to make the holiday just a little bit better for kids in need.
Since then, so many Americans -- including so many military families like all of you -- have spent countless hours bringing gifts and holiday cheer and everything else that is wonderful about the holidays to children all across this country.
And this is just one of many examples of how our military families are always going that extra mile to serve our communities and our countries -- I talk about this endlessly. You know I'm working on Joining Forces, but the military families are what inspires my work. Because even though all of you are dealing with your own hardships and challenges and struggles, you're moving from base to base every couple of years; even though you've endured deployment after deployment, the miraculous thing about you all and your spirit is somehow you always are the first people to volunteer for something. It could be as simple as the car pool, or the PTA, or a food pantry, or you're stepping up for a neighbor or friend; family members of your own. But somehow you're always the ones who find the extra hours in the day to give back, above and beyond what life has thrown your way anyway.
- Posted byon December 7, 2012 at 12:56 PM EDT
Last night, President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their daughters, Malia and Sasha, made their way to the Ellipse, just south of the White House, where they helped to light the National Christmas Tree.
"We’ve been lighting the National Christmas Tree for 90 years now," the President said. "In times of war and peace, triumph and tragedy, we’ve always come together to rejoice in the Christmas miracle."
The President used the occasion to describe another Christmas tree -- one he saw in a Staten Island neighborhood, devastated by Hurricane Sandy.
"This evening, in Midland Beach, New York, on a street lined with houses and businesses devastated by the storm, a great big Christmas tree shines out of the darkness," he said. "Just a couple of weeks ago, as impacted families were still seeking some sense of getting back to normal, one local nursery donated the tree, another chipped in for the lights and a star, and 70-year-old Tom Killeen and his longtime buddies from the area planted it at the end of the street, overlooking the town beach. As Tom says, the tree has one message: 'It’s Christmas time, not disaster time.' "
- Posted byon December 7, 2012 at 1:00 AM EDT
Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, the President visited a toy factory, hosted Kennedy Center Honorees, held the 2012 White House Tribal Nations Conference, welcomed the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, answered questions live on twitter, spoke on National Security achievements, visited a family who had written the White House, and lit the National Christmas Tree. That's November 30th to December 6th or "I Have to Pinch Myself."