World War II Museum

New Orleans, Louisiana

12:04 P.M. CDT

     MRS. OBAMA:  Thank you so much.  It’s my privilege to be here.  As Mary said, I came initially to do the commencement for Dillard University, but when we found out we could have some time in the schedule to come and sit down and talk to our military families and veterans and to hear more about what’s going on in your lives, I jumped at the chance to stay.

     These kind of gatherings, these small groups are so helpful for me -- as well as Jill Biden, who is my partner in Joining Forces -- because we’re all up in Washington doing a lot of interesting things hoping that what we’re doing is impacting you all on the ground, but we don’t really know until we hear from you.  So these conversations really help us shape what we do. 

     And many of the initiatives that we’ve taken on under Joining Forces have come from conversations like these, you guys telling us your stories.  And it gives us a better sense of what’s working, what’s not, where we need to push harder.

     So I just want to say thank you.  You all keep me going, and I say this every time I meet you all -- I know I haven’t met you, but I know so many of your stories.  And there are so few people who understand what it means to do the kind of service that you all are doing.  And whenever I’m feeling sorry for myself, you know, I really do think of what you all are sacrificing every day and how you do it with such courage and with poise, and with gratitude and strength.  So I say, get over it, Michelle; stop complaining, get up, go to work, do something to help this country.  (Laughter.) 

     So my time here I want to spend really listening to you guys. 

                             END                12:06 P.M. CDT

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