This post is part of a series authored by First Lady Michelle Obama to share her visit to Qatar with middle school and high school students in the U.S. You can read it on Medium here.
Today, I had the pleasure of visiting Al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar which has units from every branch of our military: the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines, and even one member of the Coast Guard!
Now, you may see members of our military in your community — maybe they’re your neighbors, or members of your congregation, or the parents of your friends at school — or maybe they’re a member of your own family.
But those of you who aren’t part of a military family might be surprised to learn that right now there are also about 150,000 members of our military stationed in nearly 150 countries around the world. From Italy to Australia, Honduras to Japan, these servicemen and women are constantly carrying out our most important missions and keeping us safe.
These folks live overseas for months or even years at a time, and while some of them get to take their families with them, many are far from their families — so they often have to miss out on holidays, birthdays, and so many other special moments back home.
So while I was here in Qatar, I wanted to be sure to stop by the base to thank all of these incredible men and women for their service to our country. And I wasn’t alone — a few folks you might recognize joined me to offer their own thanks. I brought TV host Conan O’Brien — and he was so excited about visiting with our troops that he went out and recruited some amazing performers to join him. He brought his band leader, Jimmy Vivino, along with the fabulous singer, Grace Potter, and the fabulous comedian, John Mulaney, and they put on a fantastic show for our servicemembers.
It was a great visit, and just one example of what we’re doing through our Joining Forces initiative. Four years ago, Vice President Biden’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden, and I created this program to rally all Americans to honor and support our military and their families. Since then, we’ve seen doctors and nurses and medical schools working to make sure our veterans and military families get the health care they need. We’ve seen teachers reaching out to military kids in their schools. And businesses across America have hired or trained more than 850,000 veterans and their spouses.
You can be part of this effort, too. If there’s a new military kid in your class, invite them over and introduce them to your friends. If there’s a military family in your neighborhood, talk to your parents and your teachers about how you can honor their service. All of us can help out in our own way — for more ideas on what you can do, go to JoiningForces.gov — and together, we can serve our troops, veterans and military families as well as they have served our country.
Follow along with our trip Instagram as we travel through Qatar and Jordan.
First Lady Michelle Obama