Michelle Obama and Jill Biden Celebrate One Year Anniversary of Military Families Campaign
The first and second ladies begin a two-day national tour saluting veterans and their families.
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To celebrate all military veterans and their families, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden are beginning a two-day nationwide tour to mark the one year anniversary of Joining Forces, their initiative to raise awareness of the sacrifices military families make every day. While everything seems to be viewed through a partisan lens these days, helping veterans and their families seems like something Democrats and Republicans can both agree is a fabulous thing to do.
The first year accomplishments – by the numbers – are impressive: more than 1,600 businesses, large and small, have hired more than 50,000 veterans and their families to date, with a pledge to hire at least 160,000 more in the next two years; more than 150 state and national nursing organizations and more than 500 nursing schools pledging at an event at my alma mater today, the University of Pennsylvania, to educate the more than three million nurses in the U.S about PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and TBI (traumatic brain injury), with one in six veterans, more than 300,000 veterans to date, suffering from these injuries; helping the 100,000 military spouses who serve in professions that require licenses to transfer their licenses across state lines (an issue we explored in-depth here at iVillage); encouraging Americans to donate more than 13 million hours of volunteer service to military families and getting nationally recognized organizations from Major League Baseball to Disney to NASCAR to take on the cause.
“It’s really an opportunity to shine a light on the good work that so many organizations, businesses, companies and associations, non-profits and faith institutions have been doing to support our men in uniform and their families,” said Brad Cooper, Executive Director of Joining Forces, in a conference call with reporters.
The first and second ladies will begin at the White House where they will be joined by veterans and military spouses, businesses and NBC’s Tom Brokaw and Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then it's off to the University of Pennsylvania to announce the push by nursing schools to educate nurses on the front lines, and then Mrs. Obama makes a visit to The Colbert Show, with military veterans and families whose loved ones are deployed to Afghanistan in the audience.
On day two, Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden will visit the Kansas City Southern Railway Company, which has been hiring veterans in the last year and wrap up the trip with a visit to Jacksonville, Florida, saluting young women, high school juniors and seniors from military families. Think about this: these young women were first and second graders at the time of the September 11th attacks, which means “they have literally spent their entire childhood in the cycle of mom and dad deploying and redeploying," said Cooper.
When we interviewed Jill Biden in December, she said the highlight of being second lady has been meeting with military families. When we followed Michelle Obama during her Let’s Move tour, she said she would also remain committed to Joining Forces for as long as she is in the White House.
Military families so often don’t seek out any extra help or recognition, but I, for one, am happy to see them get this attention and support and hope it continues for years to come.
Kelly Wallace, a former White House Correspondent, is Chief Correspondent for iVillage. Follow Kelly on Twitter here: (@kellywallacetv).