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Asked and Answered: Hannah's Song

Meet Hannah, the daughter of Lt. Col. Todd E. Bajakian, who realizes first-hand how important it is that we give our military families the support they need.

This is the latest post in our "Asked and Answered" series, in which we periodically feature an exchange between the President -- or a Senior Administration Official -- and an American who wrote him. If you'd like to write the President yourself, you can do so here.

Meet Hannah, a rising 9th grader at Indian River High School in the North Country region of New York, home to many families from the Army’s 10th Mountain Division of Fort Drum. As the daughter of Lt. Col. Todd E. Bajakian, former commander of Fort Drum’s Warriors in Transition Battalion, Hannah knows first-hand how important it is that we give our military families the support they need.

This past May at the White House’s annual Mother’s Day Tea, Hannah had the opportunity to meet the First Lady and give her the lyrics to her original song, “All On The Line.”

Read Hannah's song here


Select to read a transcription of the letter:


Dear President Obama,

Thank you for inviting my parents to your Hanukkah reception. You are an amazing person and great president, so I will say it again: Thank you. Here are a few questions I would like to ask you.

1. I'm honored that you hosted this reception, but why do it when we are only 2.11% of the American population?

2. What can I do to help this racial divide in our country?

3. What are your hopes and fears for the next administration?


Yadid Frydman Orlow. P.S. I'm 10 years old.



Through the Joining Forces initiative, the First Lady and Dr. Biden aim to bring attention to the unique experiences and strengths of America’s service members, veterans, and families, like the Bajakians.

Inspired by Hannah’s song and resilience, the First Lady decided to respond personally:

Read the First Lady's response here

See the First Lady meeting Hannah

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden greet participants in the Blue Room prior to hosting their annual Joining Forces initiative Mother’s Day tea to honor military-connected mothers in the East Room of the White House, May 8, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

The First Lady was right: Hannah is a pretty phenomenal young lady — who also enjoys a good selfie.

See the First Lady meeting Hannah

As we honor our service members and veterans this 4th of July, it’s important to remember that kids serve, too.

Hannah and her family know all too well the hardship and sacrifice that comes with being a military family: separation from loved ones, countless new schools, and the stress and heartache that comes with every one of these transitions. But it is clear that these hardships have made Hannah the resilient young woman she is today.

The voices of people across America inform the President and give him invaluable perspective on the progress we’ve made  and the work we’ve got left to do. If you want to write the President yourself, you can do that here.