By J.G. Noll
For the last eight years, the military community has been championed by the outgoing FLOTUS, Michelle Obama, through her initiatives, hospitality, and advocacy. With the change of every new administration, military families hold their breaths, waiting to see what the incoming President and cabinet will have in store for the community. From hugs to selfies, heartfelt messages to Christmas cookies, Mrs. Obama’s care for the military community transcended politics. Here are 6 reasons why military spouses will miss the First Lady:
When she and Dr. Jill Biden created Joining Forces
In 2011, Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden formed Joining Forces. This initiative, championed by both women, works advocate for and raise awareness of the obstacles and difficulties military families face. Joining Forces has worked with private companies to put military-connected folks in careers, called on state legislatures to make license portability easier for military spouses, and expanded wellness services.
When she publicly called out the sacrifices military moms make
During her remarks at an annual 2014 Mother’s Day tea for military-connected moms at the White House, Michelle Obama had this to say:
As military moms, you’re doing so much not just for your families, but you’re doing so much for your communities and for our country. And most people don’t know it. They don’t know what you do. You’re the ones, even with husbands deployed and things going on, you’re still driving the carpool, volunteering, leading the neighborhood organizations and working with your congregations to do care packages for other people. You’re the ones who answer the phone call late at night when a neighbor needs your help. And no matter what your country asks of you and your family, you’re the ones who step up and serve. And you do it with grace, with dignity, and without complaint.
When she said that military spouses gave her energy
Look, I get energy from people. And not everybody in politics, in public service are people-people. Barack and I really do — we are energized by the people we meet, by the military spouses that I meet out there. I picked working with military families because they moved me. I met them out on the campaign trail and I didn’t know that there were millions of military families out there serving and sacrificing in ways that we take for granted in this country. And I vowed then and there, just from meeting them, that if I got to be First Lady I would try to be that voice for them, I would try to shine that light on them.
When she made hosting military families during the holidays a thing
As part of Joining Forces, the Obamas have welcomed military families to be the first to see the White House decked out for Christmas. At 2016’s open house– the last that the Obamas hosted– the First Lady noted, ““Having you be the first that see the decorations, this has been one of our favorite White House traditions…Our military families remind us of what matters.”
When she used an interview with Oprah to shout out the military community
During her farewell interview on CBS, FLOTUS was emphatic about the service and sacrifices of the military community:
I always say every American should spend some time in a military community, on base… Any complaints that I might have paled, seemed silly when I looked at some of these families dealing with their eighth and ninth deployments… These families are brave. They do not complain.
When she lent her star-power to the Invictus Games