Roosevelt Room, The White House
Good morning and welcome to the White House!
As some of you may know, the Bidens are a military family. When he was seventeen, my father served as a signalman in World War II. And our son, Beau, served for a year in Iraq as a member of the Delaware Army National Guard.
When Beau was deployed, I saw how much his children, Natalie and Hunter, missed their daddy—no matter how much we tried, we couldn’t fill his chair at birthdays and holidays. Some of you may know that experience.
But I also saw how the kindness of our community made it a little easier.
At Natalie’s school, her teacher hung a photo of Beau’s unit outside the door of her classroom, so everyone who walked into the room would know that her daddy was away at war. That meant a lot to Natalie.
For many Americans, our National Guard and their families are the only service members that civilians might know.
Because our Guard members may not wear a uniform everyday—because you don’t live on or near military bases—sometimes neighbors, teachers, and other students, don’t realize your connection.
That’s why it’s important for us to tell your stories through our Joining Forces initiative—and why I continue to meet with and learn from military kids just like you as First Lady.
Our National Guard members and families have served alongside our active-duty forces in every major modern conflict—and here at home, you are a beacon of hope when hurricanes flood our cities, when fires destroy homes, or when a pandemic grips the nation.
Your parents have to be ready to support those missions at a moment’s notice. So, you know what it’s like to have your family’s life put on hold, every time they are called to duty. And you do it with humility and honor.
My husband, the President, and I, are so proud of you. And that’s why we invited you to join us today and share your stories. We’re here to learn more about how your schools and communities support you and what more we can all do to serve you. Because you serve right alongside your parents. And you deserve to have your courage and sacrifice recognized, too. So, thank you for being here.