As the daughter of a Navy Signalman in World War II, a mother of a Major who was in the Delaware Army National Guard and served a year in Iraq, and now as your First Lady – I’m so proud to be here with all of you to begin our first overseas trip.
From those of you who have served more than 20 years, to the youngest military kids in this crowd – you are our ambassadors to the world.
And thank you for representing us with integrity and pride.
Our military families may not wear a uniform but you are as crucial to our military as radar is to a fighter jet.
In the United States, we have an all-volunteer force – and it continues only because generations of Americans see the honor, dignity, and patriotism of military service.
When you serve, your families serve too.
That’s why supporting the physical, social, and emotional health of military families is a national security imperative.
And, the leadership here at Mildenhall understands this too.
In preparation for this visit, Col. Pananon wrote this about you:
“You may be familiar with the term military dependents, but I will tell you over the past 15 months, it became abundantly clear just exactly who was depending on whom. Our military families, already well-versed in sacrifice, are the true unsung heroes.”
You are heroes.
And your Commander in Chief and I believe that as well.
That’s why supporting you is personal to us and one of my top priorities.
Through our White House initiative to support military families, called Joining Forces, we’re going to work on military spouse employment and entrepreneurship; make sure that you can get quality childcare when you need it; and provide the education your children deserve.
Finally, no one has more strength and grit and resilience than our military families, but you can’t do this alone. We have to help you carry this weight by improving access to mental health resources, ensuring everyone can put food on the table, and supporting caregiving families and survivors.
Joining Forces will expect every government agency to step up and be part of this effort.
We are going to make sure that the families of our service members and veterans – caregivers – and survivors – have what they need to thrive.
Our military is a community bound together by love – love for our country.
Love for the men and women who serve beside you, for your husbands and wives, your moms and dads.
And love for communities you build together.
It’s our obligation to match that devotion.
May God bless you all – our troops and their families.
And now, I’m excited to welcome our next speaker, someone who is so familiar with what it means to be a part of a military family:
Sydney, I know growing up as the child of two service members comes with challenges, but it’s also helped you become the person you are today: someone with a broad and beautiful perspective on the world, who is able to weather change and uncertainty.
I hope you know how special you are and how grateful we are for your and your family’s service.