State News

White House spouses visit NC military families

Posted April 13, 2011

— First lady Michelle Obama told military families on Wednesday that they deserve more recognition for their sacrifices during a pep rally at a sprawling Marine base in North Carolina.

Obama told the crowd at a Camp Lejeune field house that the desire to increase the appreciation for military families is why she and Jill Biden, the wife of the vice president, are promoting a new program to support military families.

"Military families are so good at keeping everything together that it’s almost like you’re wearing camouflage even though you are not the ones on the battlefield," Obama said. "People can't always see your special brand of service because you don't wear it on your sleeve. Your 'ordinary' is extraordinary. That's why we are here today."

Obama added that the families should brag about themselves.

"With each deployment, you run your household by yourself. You watch as your kids grow up a little faster because mom or dad is away," Obama said. 

Biden said she understands what military families go through. The Bidens' son, Beau, was deployed to Iraq two and a half years ago.

“I’m very proud of him, but I also know how tough it can be when a family member is in a war zone thousands of miles away. I know how much you worry,” she said.

After the rally, the two attended a baby shower for 40 pregnant women whose husbands are in the service. Martha Stewart gave a demonstration on scrap-booking, and the women handed out gifts.

Elizabeth Rotenberry, who is pregnant with her fourth child, said she was grateful that Obama is putting the spotlight on this issue. Rotenberry's husband is currently deployed. 

"It was a poignant speech," she said. 

jill biden First lady, Biden visit NC military families

Military wife Mary Monks said it’s the little things that people can do like offer to help cut the grass or rake the leaves for spouses of those deployed. 

The White House said companies and groups already have signed on to the effort called "Joining Forces." For example, Best Buy's Geek Squad will help military families use technology to connect with loved ones who are deployed. Sears and Wal-Mart will offer transfers to employees who are military spouses who have to move and the national PTA will expand efforts to help military children adjust to new schools.

"The initiative aims to education, challenge and spark action from all sectors of society to ensure military families have the support they deserve," a White House statement said.

Obama and Biden go next to San Antonio, where they are meeting with members of the Warrior and Family Support Center, and then to Denver for a baseball game with Colorado military families.


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  • barbstillkickin Apr 14, 2011

    My ex-husband was in the military and I am going to tell all the people who have never been in the service these men,woman and wife's and husbands need medals. These people get paid jack and put there lives on the line for us daily while there spouse and kids try to survive on whatever pay they can. Let the politicians take the cut in salary not the lowest paid people. Man these military people put there lives on the line daily and our thanks to them is keep there salary but by all means pay the politicians. Very intelligent America. Now we wonder why fewer people volunteer to join our forces. My Ex got 400 bucks a month and civilians at that time averaged 700 a month. You do the math. worry each day for your spouses life and get no support from your GOVERNMENT.

  • lilylogansmom Apr 14, 2011

    SemperFi...Always, I am only stating what I was told by him on Saturday,at a family event. His pay is directly deposited into his account, he got paid on Friday morning, and the way I understand it is, because they hadnt made a decision regarding the shutdown, he only got paid for 1 week. He also told me that he is assuming he will get 3 weeks pay his next pay period, which is in another week from tomorrow (he gets paid bi-weekly.) His house payment come directly out of his paycheck, which is also why he had to call his mortgage company to let them know his payment will be late. So,unless something has changed from last Saturday when I spoke to him at a family event, then I stand by what I wrote.

  • SemperFi... Always Apr 13, 2011

    lineofduty - Ha - your post reminds me of my days in the Marines when they told us if they wanted us to have a family they would have issued us one...

  • bombayrunner Apr 13, 2011

    Biden said she understands what military families go through. The Bidens' son, Beau, was deployed to Iraq two and a half years ago.

    ... right, he was likely kept in the rear with the gear.

  • bombayrunner Apr 13, 2011

    In the military it isn't about pay, its about serving and sacrafice. This IS the deal upfront and this is made VERY clear. You get in there and start getting married and complaining and everything else, it is all secondary. YOU ARE TO KNOW THIS, YOU CAN BE KILLED. If you have changed priorities, get out, you are a detriment to the mission. You are not drafted ... go get a job.

  • SemperFi... Always Apr 13, 2011

    Lilylogansmom - really? DFAS has said that all military who are federal employees got 2 installments, both payments, 1 at a time. I'm rather surprised that somehow a military person was left out of this considering DFAS does it all electronically.

  • bombayrunner Apr 13, 2011

    trying to patch up for sticking a knife in their backs last week.

  • lilylogansmom Apr 13, 2011

    my brother-in-law stationed at Fort Bragg only got paid for 1 week last week, due to the possibility of a government shutdown. He will not get another check for 2 weeks(he gets paid bi-weekly) He had to call the mortgage company, and FORD to let them know their money was going to be late. Thankfully my sister, his wife, works. But, what about the other military spouses who dont work, and has mouths to feed, and clothes to buy. Just saying!

  • mikeyj Apr 13, 2011

    Its good Jill and Michelle are doing this. Military wives go through things alot of us will never understand. (I am a military kid and wife) Military wives have to handle everything while their husbands are gone and an article was publis.........
    My one and only comment here is this, "Obama; her and her daughters have pretty much gone to each foreign vist with Barak. Relating to military spouse deployments or TAD's, NO! If the water heater or garbage disposal breakdown, waiting till the 15th or 30th to be able to call a repair? NO! The staff will handle it immediately. This was not the ideal setting to be "launcing" the so called appreciation. Smallville or hometown America would have been better. We know how to and do show appreciation for military spouses. Littletowns across the country have past vets that may need help with yard work. Survivors widows might enjoy a grandmother to teach her kids how to knit or crochett. Bad place + bad timing. = NO VALUE

  • mlsuggs Apr 13, 2011

    i was one of the 40 women who were there it brought tears to my eyes! the feeling of having my husband deployed and me being pregnant is stressful...but they made my dad and im just so blessed and thankful