Michelle Obama photo

Remarks by the First Lady at Fort Stewart, Georgia

April 27, 2012

MRS. OBAMA: Hello, Fort Stewart! (Applause.) We are beyond thrilled -- beyond thrilled -- to be with all of you today. And before I get started, there's just one thing I want to say, and that is, hooah!


MRS. OBAMA: Did I do that right?


MRS. OBAMA: All right, good. (Laughter.) Phew.

I want to start by thanking Sergeant Marshall for that very kind introduction and for sharing his story with us today. And I want to thank all of you -- our men and women in uniform, our veterans and your extraordinary families. (Applause.) Absolutely. For the families, yes! (Applause.)

One of my greatest privileges as First Lady has been meeting folks like you on bases and communities all across this country. And I always say this, but I can never say it enough: I am in awe of you. I'm in awe of how many of you signed up to defend our country in a time of war, serving heroically through deployment after deployment. I'm in awe of your families -- the spouses who run their households all alone, the kids who step up at home and succeed at school and stay strong through all the challenges they face. With their service, they make your service possible.

And I'm also in awe of our veterans -- (applause) -- because I know that your service doesn't end when you hang up your uniform. For so many of you, your whole life is a tour of duty, and as you become leaders in our communities and continue to give back to our country, you keep serving. And like so many Americans, the more I've learned about the sacrifices you all make, the more I wanted to find a way to express my gratitude, and that's -- not just with words, but with action.

And that's why last year Jill Biden and I started Joining Forces. It's a nationwide campaign to recognize, honor and support our veterans, our troops and our military families. And I have to tell you, we had barely even finished announcing this campaign when we were inundated with offers to help. I mean, so many people wanted to step up and show their appreciation that we hardly knew where to begin.

In our first year alone, more than 1,600 businesses hired more than 60,000 veterans, and they pledged to hire at least 170,000 more in the coming years. (Applause.) National associations of doctors and nurses representing millions of health professionals are working to improve treatment for post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries. We've had TV shows like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Sesame Street; organizations like NASCAR and Disney -- they're working to share the stories of our military families with the rest of the country. And these are just a few examples out of thousands all across the country.

So if I can leave you with just one message today, I want you all to know that America does have your backs. And we are just getting started. We are going to keep at this. We're going to keep on working every day to serve all of you as well as you have served this country.

And the man who has been leading the way is standing right next to me. (Applause.) And ladies, I think he's kind of cute. (Laughter and applause.) He was fighting for all of you long before he ever became President.

He's made veteran's employment a national priority, with tax breaks for businesses that hire veterans and wounded warriors. He's working to end the outrage of veteran's homelessness once and for all. (Applause.) He championed the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which has helped more than half a million veterans and military families go to college. (Applause.) And today, with this new effort to ensure that you all get the education you've earned, that story continues.

So please join me in welcoming your strongest advocate -- your Commander-In-Chief and our President, my husband, Barack Obama. (Applause.)

Michelle Obama, Remarks by the First Lady at Fort Stewart, Georgia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/320686

Filed Under




Simple Search of Our Archives