The White House

Office of the First Lady

Remarks by the First Lady and Dr. Biden at Joining Forces with USO and Sesame Street event

Veterans Memorial Auditorium
Columbus, Ohio

6:32 P.M. EDT
 
DR. BIDEN:  Thank you, Elmo and Katie.  And thank you to the USO, Sesame Street, and Nick Jonas for supporting Joining Forces.  Weren’t they terrific?  (Applause.)
 
It’s so great to be here in Columbus tonight.  I can see a lot of children in the audience.  Can you raise your hand if you’re part of a military family?  Can we have a big round of applause for all our military kids?  (Applause.)  Thank you, kids, for all that you do.  I know just how proud you are of your moms and dad in uniform.
 
But we are all so proud of you.  I’m especially pleased to be here today as the mother of an Army National Guardsman.  (Applause.)
 
I want to thank General McKinley and his wife, Cheryl, and all the other adjutants general for your work on behalf of the National Guard families.  (Applause.)
 
And I want to say a big welcome home to the Marines of the Lima Company.  You make us so proud!  (Applause.)
 
Michelle and I came here today to say thank you to all you servicemembers and your families, and we hope to inspire more communities out around the country to reach out to our military families just like we are doing tonight.  We can all join forces.
 
And now I want to introduce my partner in this effort and my good friend, our First Lady Michelle Obama.  (Applause.)
 
MRS. OBAMA:  Wow!  Thank you so much.  (Applause.)  And thank you to Jill Biden, my partner and my friend.  Let’s give Jill a round of applause.  (Applause.)
 
Like Jill, I am thrilled to be here in Columbus with all of you.  And I want to recognize your mayor, Mayor Michael Coleman, who’s here tonight.  Yay, Mayor Coleman!  (Applause.)
 
I also want to thank -- and this is important -- the Franklin County Veterans Memorial Theater -- (applause) -- because you know what, they donated this space for this event tonight.  So let’s give them a round of applause.  (Applause.)
 
And we couldn’t do this night without the USO and Sesame Street and of course our dear, dear friend, Nick Jonas.  Again, let’s give them another big hand.  (Applause.)
 
And I also want to thank all of you, those military kids and your moms and your dads that are in the audience.  You all are a guest of honor this evening.  We did all of this for you.  You’re the reason that we’re here.  And I think that, again, we have to give you guys another big round of applause.  (Applause.)
 
And finally I also want to thank all of the community members that are here tonight.  There are a lot of community members who came out tonight because even though you may not be part of a military family yourself, you still feel a whole lot of gratitude and respect for those who are.  I know you do. 
 
And that's why Jill and I have launched Joining Forces.  We launched it Tuesday.  This is our nationwide campaign to recognize, honor and support America’s military families.  We want to give back to these families that have given all of us so much.  So we’re going to join forces across the federal government.
 
We’re joining forces with businesses like Sears and Kmart.  We’re joining forces with organizations like the PTA and the YMCA.  (Applause.) 
 
But most importantly, this effort is about all of us joining forces as Americans, as neighbors, and colleagues, and classmates.  And the motto for this effort is very simple.  Jill and I believe that everyone -- everyone -- can do something, even boys and girls.  Everyone can do something to support a military family.  And everyone can ask themselves, what can I do?  How can I give back? 
 
If you’re a kid, you can ask your teacher if your class can do a project to support military families.  If you’re a parent, maybe you can tell that military mom down the street that you’ll take her shift in the carpool, or maybe mow the lawn, or start a group at your place of worship to help lighten the load for these families during deployments.
 
And when you get home, I want you all to log on to joiningforces.gov and see how you can get involved.
 
In the end, I know that if we all work together, if we all join forces, then we can serve our military families as well as they’ve served us.
 
Thank you all so much.  We are so proud of you.  We love you.  We’re going to come down and shake some hands.  (Applause.)
 
END
6:37 P.M. EDT

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