the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

Search form

The White House
Office of the First Lady
For Immediate Release

Remarks by the First Lady at Joining Forces Event

Minnesota Air National Guard Hangar
Minneapolis, Minnesota

3:59 P.M. CDT

MRS. OBAMA:  Well, first of all, let me make sure you guys know that everything that we’re doing with Joining Forces wouldn’t happen without Brad.  He is the person on the ground making a lot of this stuff happen.  So, yes -- (applause.)  And he’s so much fun to hang out with.  (Laughter.)

But I want to thank you all, first of all, for taking the time.  I know that hanging out with the First Lady is never just an easy thing to do.  But it is so important to shine a spotlight on the work that you all are doing, and that’s really what Joining Forces is all about.  I mean, we know that we live in a grateful nation, and that people, when asked, will step up on behalf of our families.  But I know you guys don’t always do the asking, because, first of all, you’re just trying to get through it.  You’re proud, you’re brave.  So Jill and I are doing the asking on your behalf. 

And we have just been amazed at how organizations and businesses and individuals are stepping in ways large and small.  And what we try to do, in addition to encouraging more organizations, more individuals to do good things, is to highlight the great work that’s happening already and was happening long before Jill and I showed up on the scene.

And this state is one of the models because of so many of the things you all are doing.  And I want to make sure that the rest of the nation understands how you work as a state, how your organizations come together, the needs of our military families and how organizations can serve them.

So you’re doing me a favor.  You’re educating me, but you’re also educating the nation.  So I do want you all to relax and to just tell your story.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy.  But you’re doing the service for the rest of the military families and organizations out there by just being honest about what you’re going through, what your needs are, and what the many organizations in your communities are doing to make that better.

So that’s really why we’re here.  So, again, I’m grateful to you all for all the sacrifice that you all make.  And we want to make sure that country understands that.  Now, one thing we say is that we’ve got 1 percent of this country serving and sacrificing on behalf of the other 99 percent of us.  And some -- and that can be a daunting position to be in.  And a lot of times America just doesn’t understand the struggles and the -- we take it for granted because you all handle and shoulder the burden so well. 

But it’s time for people to really understand what military families and our military kids go through.  It’s not easy doing what you do -- keeping grades up, being on sports, and changing schools every few years, and having a dad that’s deploying.  That is not an easy thing to go through.  And you should be proud of what you do for your family and what you do just to get through.  

You guys, military kids -- you guys are amazing.  So be proud and just keep doing what you’re doing.  Okay? 

All right.  I’ll stop talking.  I can talk for hours.  (Laughter.)  I’ll turn it back over to Brad.

END
4:02 P.M. CDT