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The White House
Office of the First Lady
For Immediate Release

Remarks by the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden at Congressional Spouses Service Project

Naval Observatory
Washington, D.C.

3:17 P.M. EDT

DR. BIDEN:  Hello, everyone, and welcome to our home.  It is wonderful for you to all be here today on such a beautiful day, especially after the rain all this week.

One of the best parts of my role as Second Lady has been visiting with military families all across the country and throughout the world.  I’m always amazed by their courage, their resilience and their strength.

As you all know, the First Lady and I started Joining Forces last year as a way to honor, recognize and support our veterans and military families.  We’ve been so inspired by the many ways Americans all across this country have stepped up to show their support.

Full Circle Home is a wonderful organization started by Vicki Durfree that supports women and military families.  Vicki’s son, Gil, is a Marine.  Working with Vicki is Lisa Miller, an Army mom herself. 

When Vicki’s son was deployed, he asked him mom to help him send a gift to his girlfriend at Christmas.  That was the beginning.  Around the holidays and for Mother’s Day, Full Circle Home arranges for gift boxes to be sent on behalf of service members to their loved ones.

The boxes are filled with pampering products, and, most importantly, a handwritten note from their deployed loved one.  My son, Beau, is a major in the Delaware Army National Guard who was deployed for a year to Iraq, so I know what it feels like for a mom to see that familiar handwriting from a son or a daughter thousands of miles away.  What an incredible surprise for a mom or a spouse to receive. 

More than 4,000 gift boxes have been sent to women across the United States, and even to bases in Iraq and Afghanistan in the past five years. 

Vicki and Lisa, thank you for all you are doing to support our military families.  (Applause.)

Thank you to everyone here for taking the time to help with this service project.  Your time will help thousands of military moms and wives know their loved ones are thinking of them this Mother’s Day.

Now, it is my pleasure to introduce someone who has helped make today possible.  Sloan Gibson, President of the USO, is one of our strongest advocates for our servicemen and women and their families.

Sloan.  (Applause.)

* * * * *

DR. BIDEN:  And now, I want to introduce our First Lady, Michelle Obama, who has been just a wonderful, caring friend, partner and advocate for our U.S. military.

Michelle.  (Applause.)

MRS. OBAMA:  Well, good afternoon, everyone.  I’m not going to talk long because we’re going to get to work, as you all already have been.

I want to start by thanking Jill for opening up this beautiful home for us today.  I want to thank Sloan and the USO for everything they’ve done.  They have just been a phenomenal partner. 

And of course to Vicki and to Lisa, and everything they’re doing with Full Circle Home.  This is just the kind of partnership, just the kind of opportunities that people have in this country to give back and to be creative with the skills that they have, the ideas that they have, what impact that that can have.

But most importantly, I want to just thank all of the congressional spouses, all of the men and women who have taken time out of their busy days to be here.  It was wonderful spending time with you all yesterday at the luncheon.  Great job to the committee.  Well done.  We had a lot of fun, as we always do.  That luncheon is a very special opportunity for us to get together. 

But as I said yesterday, these kind of service opportunities make that luncheon even more special, because it is really the time that we can come together as a group and give back to the community and the country that we all love in ways that you all are doing every day in your own community.

So I am just grateful for you all taking this time out.  It means a lot to both Jill and to I, and of course to all of the military wives and mothers out there who are going to benefit from the gifts that we pack.  I will echo Sloan and Jill in saying -- I am not, have not been a military mom or a wife, but I can only imagine the challenge that this time brings for people with loved ones deployed.  And as Jill said, just getting that note, that familiar handwriting, just making sure that these women know that they’re not forgotten on a day that is so special to all of us. 

So with every package you pack, you’re just brightening up the lives of women who are doing the most, and some making the greatest sacrifice that you can make for this country.  But you all are doing the same thing in your roles as spouses.

We all know that in these roles we are sacrificing as well.  No matter what party we’re in, our husbands and wives are doing the very best for this country, looking out for it each and every day.  And with that, many of us, our families are sacrificing and giving and serving right alongside them as well.  And I know that you all are in a unique position to understand what military -- many military families are going through.  And many of you all are Blue Star families as well, so I know that this makes it even more special.

So I just want to thank you all again.  And with that, we should just get to work.  We’ve got 2,000 packages to get together, so let’s make it happen.  Thank you all.  (Applause.)

3:25 P.M. EDT