Remarks by the First Lady at the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center in Bowling Green, Kentucky

January 14, 2022

[As prepared for delivery.]

A month ago, the President visited Dawson Springs to make Kentucky a promise: that we would help you rebuild. He told you that we wouldn't walk away and that we're in this for the long haul.

Since then, you have never left our thoughts. As we held our holiday dinner, as we said our Christmas prayers, the families of Kentucky were on our minds. And today, at the start of MLK Day weekend—a time when we come together to serve in our own ways, helping build Dr. King's "Beloved Community"—I want you to know that we're going to keep that promise.

When Bowling Green woke up on January 1st, you weren't met with the bright dawn of a new day, but the dark skies of yet another storm. And when the winds died down—this town still reeling from the deadly tornadoes just a few weeks earlier—I know it probably felt more like an end than a beginning. Yet, something new has begun.

Not the quick turn of a calendar page, but the slow movement of seeds deep in the earth, climbing toward the light that will come with spring.

It's a beginning that looks like lines of people donating blood for those in need. It tastes like hot meals from food trucks that traveled miles and miles to feed the hungry. It feels like the warmth of a borrowed generator for families with no power. And it sounds like soft prayers of comfort and healing from friends and strangers alike.

The book of Hebrews tells us that faith is "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

There is grief all around us… for the destruction of homes and hometowns… for every life lost. It will take time to make this beautiful place whole. But there is faith here too. There is strength. And there is so much hope, if only we know where to look: In the first responders and volunteers… in members of this community and Americans across the country—sending donations and praying for your recovery.

There is hope—and there is help. If you're struggling, come to a Disaster Recovery Center. There are centers all around the state, so let your friends and family know that help is available.

America stands with Kentucky today, tomorrow, and every day that you rebuild. Joe and I are with you and your families.

We have been changed by this tragedy, but not diminished. Instead, we grow, becoming strong enough to hold both our grief and our joy. We bear the unbearable together, with mercy and kindness, turning our faces to the glow of dawn, and looking for the sunlight of hope that we know will come.

So, Andy and Britainy, you can expect us back again soon.

God bless you and God bless Bowling Green.

Jill Biden, Remarks by the First Lady at the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center in Bowling Green, Kentucky Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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