Remarks by the First Lady at Fort Liberty in Fayetteville, North Carolina

June 09, 2023

THE FIRST LADY: Thank you, General Donahue. And thank you for your leadership here at Liberty.

Through Joining Forces -- my White House initiative to support military and veteran families, caregivers, and survivors -- I've traveled to bases across this country and across the world. And I've sat with military families just like yours to learn about their experiences and their challenges.

Even though every story is unique, again and again I hear the same thing: that you're proud of your family's service, but you miss the careers that you've had to leave behind; that you're stuck looking for work that doesn't put your education and your experience to good use; that you take the jobs you can get even if you don't want them because, well, there are bills to pay.

You told me that the life of a military spouse is rewarding in so many ways, but it isn't easy.

And as I was having these conversations, Joining Forces was working with military spouse employee resource groups at agencies across the government to figure out the solutions that could make the difference in your lives.

And when we brought these stories back to Joe, he listened. He understands -- (the President makes the sign of the cross) -- (laughter) -- he understands that we can't ask our service members to choose between their love of country and their love of family. He knows that the supporting military spouses is a national security imperative.

And in the last two years, he's done so much to respond to the challenges that you all face. He's committed all agencies to partner with the -- the Department of Defense to hire military spouses. And he's signed an executive -- a historic executive order to improve care for hardworking families, including military and veteran families.

Today, thanks to you, Joe is helping our country take yet another step forward with an executive order that addresses the challenges for those in the federal workforce, those looking to take a job with them when they PCS overseas, or spouses trying to start their own business.

And this will not only benefit active-duty spouses, but veteran spouses, caregivers, and survivors as well.

This moment -- this moment belongs to your community.

So, I want to thank all the military spouses everywhere who made it possible. Thank you for sharing your stories. Thank you for trusting us to make this right.

Of course, we know that this order won't solve the challenges of spouse unemployment on its own. So we're in -- calling on employers everywhere to do their part. Recruit military spouses. Offer flexible work opportunities so that you can retain their talent no matter where in the world they are working.

Yes, it's vital for the future of our nation. But it's also a great way to find the dynamic talent that your businesses need.

Spouses bring experience and adaptability that -- that really can't be taught.

And when they get the opportunities that they deserve, our service members can do their duty knowing that those they love most are able to thrive. We all benefit.

So, with all my heart, thank you for your service and your sacrifice.

And now, I'm proud to welcome someone who knows why this executive order is so important, because it's made for people like her.

Tiffany, thank you for your service as an Army spouse and as a proud Womack Army Medical Center employee.

Here's Tiffany. (Applause.)

MS. ZOELLER: Thank you, Dr. Biden.

My name is Tiffany Zoeller. I'm a military spouse of five years, and my husband is Sergeant First Class Lee Zoeller. We have two handsome sons: Jaden, who's nine, and Jackson, who's three.

I'm also a federal employee. I work for the dental department at Womack Army Medical Center for the Advanced Education in Gen- -- General Dentistry Program. It's a two-year residency clinic here at Fort Liberty.

I love what I do, as a secretary of the program, and I appreciate the people I work with.

I was able to get the opportunity to support this program due to the Military Spouse Hiring Authority. I may still be looking for employment if that door was not opened for me.

I'm personally grateful for the recognition and support the Biden administration is giving to military spouses and their families. This allows -- this support is so important to allow families like mine to thrive while our loved ones are serving in uniform.

And it is now my honor to introduce the President of the United States, Joe Biden. (Applause.)

[APP Note: The president's remarks as included in the Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents can be found here:]

Jill Biden, Remarks by the First Lady at Fort Liberty in Fayetteville, North Carolina Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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