Michelle Obama photo

Remarks by the First Lady at Fort Bragg, North Carolina

December 14, 2011

MRS. OBAMA: Hello, everyone! I get to start you all off. I want to begin by thanking General Anderson for that introduction, but more importantly for his leadership here at Fort Bragg. I can't tell you what a pleasure and an honor it is to be back here. I have so many wonderful memories of this place.

A couple of years ago, I came here on my very first official trip as First Lady. And I spent some -- a great time with some of the amazing military spouses, and I visited again this summer to help to put on the finishing touches on an amazing new home for a veteran and her family. So when I heard that I had the opportunity to come back and to be a part of welcoming you all home, to say I was excited was an understatement.

And I have to tell you that when I look out at this crowd, I am simply overwhelmed. I am overwhelmed and proud, because I know the level of strength and commitment that you all display every single day. Whenever this country calls, you all are the ones who answer, no matter the circumstance, no matter the danger, no matter the sacrifice.

And I know that you do this not just as soldiers, not just as patriots, but as fathers and mothers, as brothers and sisters, as sons and daughters. And I know that while your children and your spouses and your parents and siblings might not wear uniforms, they serve right alongside you.

AUDIENCE: Hooah! (Applause.)

MRS. OBAMA: I know that your sacrifice is their sacrifice, too. So when I think of all that you do and all that your families do, I am so proud and so grateful. But more importantly, I'm inspired. But like so many Americans, I never feel like I can fully convey just how thankful I am, because words just don't seem to be enough.

And that's why I have been working so hard, along with Jill Biden, on a campaign that we call Joining Forces. It's a campaign that we hope goes beyond words. It's a campaign that is about action. It's about rallying all Americans to give you the honor, the appreciation and the support that you have all earned. And I don't have to tell you that this hasn't been a difficult campaign. We haven't had to do much convincing because American have been lining up to show their appreciation for you and your families in very concrete and meaningful ways.

Businesses are hiring tens of thousands of veterans and military spouses. Schools all across the country and PTAs are reaching out to our military children. And individuals are serving their neighbors and their communities all over this country in your honor.

So I want you to know that this nation's support doesn't end as this war ends. Not by a long shot. We're going to keep on doing this. We have so much more work to do. We're going to keep finding new ways to serve all of you as well as you have served us. And the man leading the way is standing right here. (Applause.) He is fighting for you and your families every single day. He's helped more than half a million veterans and military family members go to college through the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. (Applause.)

He's taken unprecedented steps to improve mental health care. He's cut taxes for businesses that hire a veteran or a wounded warrior. And he has kept his promise to responsibly bring you home from Iraq.

So please join me in welcoming someone who's your strongest advocate, someone who shows his support for our military not only in words, but in deeds, my husband, our President, and your Commander-in-Chief, Barack Obama. (Applause.)

Michelle Obama, Remarks by the First Lady at Fort Bragg, North Carolina Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/320685

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