Joining Forces at Naval Air Station Oceana

July 26, 2011 | 2:47 | Public Domain

First Lady Michelle Obama visits Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana and tours NAS Oceana's youth program summer camp. Also, as part of the Joining Forces Movie Series, Mrs. Obama welcomed local military families to a special screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 2.

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Remarks by the First Lady at Joining Forces Screening of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two"

11:47 A.M. EDT

        MRS. OBAMA:  Yay!  Hello, everybody!  (Applause.)  It is great to see you.  It’s great to be here.  You all rest yourselves.

        AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I love you, Mrs. Obama!

        MRS. OBAMA:  Well, I love you all, love you all to death.  We are working hard for you -- (applause) -- to make sure you know how much this country appreciates every -- each and every one of you.

        Let me start by thanking Captain Webb for that very kind introduction and for hanging around with me today.  And I want to thank everyone here at Oceana for putting together such a wonderful visit today.  

        I had so much fun, and I know how excited everyone here is to see a certain wizard and see what he has in store for his final chapter, so I’m not going to talk long.  

        But I wanted to be here today because there’s something that I want to say to all of you, and I’ve been saying this a lot, and it’s simple, but it’s thank you.  

        Thank you to all the moms and to all the dads that we have here today.  Yay for moms and dads.  (Applause.)  I want to thank you, for those of you who wear our uniform, and thank you to all of you who don’t wear the uniform and serve, because no matter which group you fall into, all of you are serving our country, and we are so incredibly proud of you, and we want to thank you.  We can’t thank you enough, we cannot thank you enough for everything that you’re doing, the sacrifices that you’re making to serve this country.

        And I’ve seen your strength again and again, including this morning here at Oceana when I got to spend some time with the wonderful young people at summer camp.  We did some fun stuff.  We read some books.  Did some “Annie” singing and dancing.  You guys have something good in store.  Anybody who’s going to see the camp play, it’s going to be phenomenal.  And it was just such a great opportunity for me to spend time with your amazing children.

        So I want to take just a second right now to speak to all of the military kids who are here joining us today.  How many military kids are here?  Let’s hear it.  Raise your hands.  Clap.  (Applause.)  Let’s recognize our kids.  (Applause.)

        Over the past several years, I’ve had the privilege of meeting military kids across this country, so I know how extraordinary all of you all are.  I’ve seen it.  And I know that the challenges are that you face –- and there are many.  So many of you have had to learn to live with moving a lot, right, picking up, moving for your third, or fourth, fifth school, starting new schools again and again, right?  That's not always easy.  But you do it -- having to make new friends everywhere you go, right; being apart from your mom or your dad or someone special in your life for months on end because they’ve been deployed, right?  That's not hard -- that's not easy.

        But I also know that these experiences in your life have given you all qualities and abilities that not everyone gets to develop at your age.  These experiences have made you stronger.  That, I know.  And I’ve seen it.  These experiences have made you wiser and more mature.  And these experiences are giving you skills that you will need to succeed in school and in life.  

        And young people like you and families like the ones here today have inspired Jill Biden and I to start this wonderful new initiative that we’re calling Joining Forces.  This is a nationwide campaign that Jill and I are working on to rally America around all of you families -- your children, your parents, and all those who are supporting you along the way.  We want this country to recognize and honor and support all of you and everything that you do and have given to this country.  

        And I’m happy to say that already, there are so many people and organizations and businesses from across the country who are stepping up, and that's starting with the federal government.  

        My husband has directed every single agency in the government to identify ways to support military families, and they came back to him earlier in the year and presented 50 concrete recommendations that they’re going to be implementing.  

        Companies like Walmart and Sears are working to hire and train more military spouses, and the Chamber of Commerce is holding job fairs specifically for military families.  

        And we’re also working for our military children, as well.  

        The National PTA is educating its local chapters across the country about the challenges and experiences of military students so that teachers and schools and organizations are more in touch with what you all are going through.

        Also the National Math and Science Institute, the military, and major companies are working together all across the country to offer math and science Advanced Placement courses to high schools with large numbers of military students, including right here in Tidewater -- the Tidewater area.

        So people are stepping up.  And it has been an easy initiative because people already know what you do.  They just have never been asked.  So they’ve got the First Lady and the Second Lady together asking a lot.  So people are stepping up.

        And today’s screening is part of Joining Forces Movie Series that we’ve started this summer, where some of our country’s biggest movie studios are offering special screenings for military families at bases all across America.  

        And I want to join with Captain Webb in thanking Warner Brothers for organizing today’s viewing of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two.”  (Applause.)  Yeah!

        How many Harry Potter fans are here?  (Applause.)  How many people have read all the books and seen all the movies?  Well, you’re right along with the President and my girls.  They’ve seen the movie already.  They lined right up.  

        So this is very exciting.  This is just one of the ways that this country wants to show you our gratitude for all that you’ve given this country and for the example that you set every day.  You do it every day, and we are just grateful and proud, and it is an honor for me to have been able to spend this time with you.  And I will stop talking so that you can --


        MRS. OBAMA:  Uh oh, you don’t -- (laughter) -- you don't want to hear -- because you know what?  I have something special for you all here.  This is another way that people have stepped up.  I have a very special surprise for all the witches and wizards and muggles.  So I have to stop talking so that you can watch the surprise.  So here it is, okay?  (Applause.)   

END 11:54 A.M. EDT

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