Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Michelle Obama brings White House onesies to 'Joining Forces' shower

| No Comments


michelle one.jpgFirst Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden arrive at an Operation Shower baby shower for expecting military families at Ball Center in Camp Lejeune, N.C., April 13, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden traveled to Colorado, Texas and North Carolina on Tuesday, on a two-day blitz to publicize their "Joining Forces" drive to help military families.

One way to help: throw a baby shower, as they did, bringing White House onesies to a shower at Camp Lejeune, N.C. calling the stop at the Marine Base, "Operation Shower Drop By."

Said Mrs. Obama, "So we want to ask the rest of the nation to look at this. This is a fun way to give back. And we did this at the White House. We brought you guys White House onesies and blankets. We took up a drive. We had boxes all over the West Wing and the East Wing. People wrote checks. We brought -- I mean, this was fun. And any business, any community, any school can do this for a military family, for an expectant mom. All you have to do is find them. And all you all have to do is ask and reach out."

My story on the "Joining Forces" launch on Tuesday is here.


Click below for Mrs. Obama transcripts at events in Denver, Camp Lejeune and San Antonio.

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the First Lady

For Immediate Release April 13, 2011

REMARKS BY THE FIRST LADY AND DR. BIDEN

DURING OPERATION SHOWER DROP BY

Ball Center

Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

10:51 A.M. EDT

DR. BIDEN: Hello. I'm Jill Biden, and -- gosh, thanks for inviting us here today. We're so excited. And thank you to Martha Stewart. Gosh, she's done a great job. (Applause.) And thank you to the ladies who are in charge of Operation Shower. They've done a great job.

I've been involved -- Michelle and I have our new Joining Forces that we're traveling around the country. And this is so exciting for us because this is exactly what we hope that other communities will do for military families. And actually in the state of Delaware where I'm from, we actually did a shower for a military family -- not with Martha Stewart, of course -- (laughter) -- but anyway, it's just so great to be here.

I am a mom. I have three children. I have five grandchildren, starting from 17 down to age five. So congratulations to all you moms-to-be.

And now I'd like to introduce one of my favorite moms, Michelle Obama. (Applause.)

MRS. OBAMA: Wow. So are you all having fun? Is this fun? Have you gotten into the fun part of it?

So how many of you are first-time moms? Oh, so most of you are. That's very -- you know, just thinking back on -- you know, my youngest is nine, will be 10. I enjoyed my pregnancy. I enjoyed every minute of it. And I hope you all are enjoying every minute of it.

And I know that it helps to know that you've got some support. I mean, as a new mom, there are just an array of things that run through your head: What's this kid going to be like? Will I get my shape back? Will I ever sleep again? What's a onesie? How does it work?

And it's nice to have a supportive community around you, especially new moms; to have other moms who have been there, because we all get through it. They don't break. (Laughter.) I've come to know that babies are really resilient. But it always helps to have a community around you.

And this event, Operation Shower, is one of the ways that communities can really gather around new moms, or even second- and third-time moms who are expecting. I mean, what we want to tell the country is, you know, imagine that you're a new mom and your husband is deployed, and maybe you're alone because you're in a new community, and you're not near your own mom, or your sisters, or that support group. I mean, just imagine all the anxiety that comes with pregnancy -- and many of you may be newly married, or new relationships. Who knows? It's all kinds of things.

And that's one of the things that most Americans don't realize, is that you guys have to do this alone sometimes, and you're doing it not knowing whether your spouse is okay, or will be okay, which adds to the stress. It adds to the pressure.

So it's events like these that gets you to shake it off and forget all that worrisome stuff. And it reminds you that you're not alone; that there's a whole community.

And through Joining Forces we hope there will be a whole country that will be around you just not during this time when you're expecting but in the years to come when you're worrying about where to put your child in school, and how do you handle that third transfer, and what do you do about college, how can you afford college, and how are you going to get your own education.

That's what Joining Forces is all about. It's asking every sector of this society to step up and support you all, because you all are serving in your own way. And the children that will be born will be serving, too. They're serving right now this country, because if they're born healthy and happy, their dads who are deployed are going to be able to focus on their mission and do a better job, because they know their families are safe.

So we want to ask the rest of the nation to look at this. This is a fun way to give back. And we did this at the White House. We brought you guys White House onesies and blankets. We took up a drive. We had boxes all over the West Wing and the East Wing. People wrote checks. We brought -- I mean, this was fun. And any business, any community, any school can do this for a military family, for an expectant mom. All you have to do is find them. And all you all have to do is ask and reach out.

And we're going to be making it easier for people around the country to connect. We've got a new website, joiningforces.gov, where people can get online, find out what's going on in their own communities, learn more about Operation Shower and how to get involved, and how to do something like this in their own communities.

So I want to thank you, ladies, for holding it together, because you all look great. You all look pretty doggone good. And we're just so proud of you all. Proud of you all, proud of you for holding it together while your man is doing something hard. (Laughter.) And there's nothing like having a man that's doing something hard, right, Jill? (Laughter.) Sheesh. (Laughter and applause.)

So with that, we're going to have each of you come up so we can meet you, take a picture, if you'd like. And then we'll do a big group shot. So we'll have a class picture. (Laughter.)

So thank you all. We're proud of you. Thanks so much.

END 10:56 P.M. EDT


THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the First Lady

For Immediate Release April 13, 2011

REMARKS BY THE FIRST LADY AND DR. BIDEN

AT JOINING FORCES WITH THE COLORADO ROCKIES EVENT

Coors Field

Denver, Colorado

8:23 P.M. MDT

DR. BIDEN: Hi. The kids are probably saying, "Who?" (Laughter.) Anyways -- well, nice to see you. It's nice to be here. I'm Jill Biden. I'm a proud military mom. Our son is Delaware Army National Guard, so -- (cheering) -- thank you. So I want to say a special hello to all the National Guard families who are here tonight. And one of the things that Michelle and I are doing is we're going out across the United States, and we're trying to send out a message of how important military families are, and we want to get the word out to all Americans about the sacrifices that you make for all of us.

And so thank you for your service. Thank you for what you do for us. We all really appreciate it.

And I'd like to introduce my partner in this project in Joining Forces, and it's your First Lady Michelle Obama. (Applause.)

MRS. OBAMA: Yeah, I'm a little taller. It's okay. (Laughter.)

Are you guys having fun?

CHILDREN: Yeah!

MRS. OBAMA: Isn't this pretty cool?

CHILDREN: Yeah!

MRS. OBAMA: Did you guys get a chance to run out on the baseball field before it started raining?

CHILDREN: Yeah!

MRS. OBAMA: Great! We are excited to be here. This has been a big day for Jill and myself because yesterday we launched this huge national initiative. We're calling it Joining Forces, as Jill mentioned. We're rallying the country to make sure they're aware of your stories, you guys' stories, because you know you are heroes just like your parents are? Do you realize that? Because you all are sacrificing. Your lives have been turned upside down, but you guys are doing it with grace, and we're so, so very proud of you. And America needs to know that and we need to rally everyone around you.

So we made that announcement yesterday. And today we've been all over the country. Just today do you know how many cities we've been to in just one day? We were in North Carolina, then we flew to San Antonio, and now we're here! And tomorrow we're going to Ohio. We're all over the place because we're trying to spread the word.

And I'm just grateful to the Colorado Rockies for supporting this Major League Baseball, to Jessica Simpson. Isn't she terrific? (Applause.) She's amazing! She flew all the way here just to be with you because she knows how important you and your families are. We're just so grateful.

So we're going to keep doing this. And we're going to need your help. When you guys need help in school, you need to speak up, let your teachers know if there's something going on. We need you to talk to your parents. We're going to be gathering around to make sure you're getting everything you need, okay?

So now we're going to have some fun. We're going to have some more fun. We want to see what you've been learning. We want to see you run some bases, do some great stuff. Are you ready?

CHILDREN: Yes!

MRS. OBAMA: All right, well, let's get it going! Let's go! (Cheering.) Show me what we're going to do. Where are we going next? We're going in here! Are we going out there? All right, we're going all over. Let's do it. (Applause.)

END 8:26 P.M. MDT


THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the First Lady

For Immediate Release April 13, 2011

REMARKS BY THE FIRST LADY

AND DR. BIDEN

IN PRESS AVAILABILITY

Warrior and Family Support Center

San Antonio, Texas

5:00 P.M. CDT

DR. BIDEN: I wanted to thank Judy for taking us around today and showing us this beautiful family center. And it was an honor for us to meet the families here at the center. And up on the ward, we met several soldiers and their families.

And actually you might think, oh, gosh, you're going to a hospital and you're going to see Wounded Warriors. But actually, I think we leave here more inspired, because of the resilience and strength we see in our Wounded Warriors and their families.

MRS. OBAMA: And the thing that is amazing and one of the reasons why we wanted to come to this facility is because, as Judy explained, all of this that you see around is donated by the community -- 100 percent of every salary of every brick of every piece of wood, of every bit of food. This is all done by the community.

And as you all know, Jill and I just launched "Joining Forces," and we're rallying the nation around our military families. And a lot of people are going to wonder, well, how can I help? What can I do? This family center is an example of how communities step up and support the military families and the troops. And they do it with their own dollars, with their own energy.

Judy said she has 67 volunteers waiting to volunteer at any given time. We've seen university students here. We've seen wives and mothers and sisters and brothers here helping. And I talked to one young man, who -- I told him he should do the press avail. (Laughter.) He was saying that even as a soldier, he didn't know that these resources existed. And that's what we want the nation to know.

This is the kind of stepping up that we can do, because most people will step up if they know the need is there. And San Antonio is an example of that. And there are hundreds of communities like this all across the nation. We want to see thousands of communities like this, because not every family -- military family is going to live near a base. They're not going to live near this resource, but they need to have the same type of resource where they live.

And this is the kind of thing that individuals and businesses and nonprofits working together can create. So this is our task. We want to travel the nation, showing and lifting up and shining a light on models like these to give people around the country the inspiration and the ideas they need. We're encouraging people, if they want to find out how to get engaged and work with a military family, to go to joiningforces.gov, our website.

We're going to have this center; we're going to have other resources linked there, where people can go and find out how they can help. We're going to encourage families here to share their ideas, go on that site, so that other people who don't know what to do can get some ideas about help.

We are grateful to you -- Mom, they call her. (Laughter.) We would like -- I was asked by the commander here, do not steal her. (Laughter.) I'm not going to steal her, because we need you here. We just need to replicate you --

MS. MARKELEZ: Thank you very much.

MRS. OBAMA: -- and scatter you around the nation.

MS. MARKELEZ: This building is thousands and thousands of people. Mr. Steve Huffman is the builder, ma'am. And he is the man who raised the money, along with a large group of people. (Applause.)

MRS. OBAMA: Well, thank you so much. We've got a long list of things -- we're to two more cities? Yes, so we're not done yet. (Laughter.) I'm not done yet. So we hope you all and the media here, you keep shining a light.

DR. BIDEN: Thank you for being here.

MRS. OBAMA: Thank you so much. (Applause.)

END 5:04 P.M. CDT

Leave a comment

Get the Sweet widget

More widgets

Video

Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Stay in touch

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on April 14, 2011 6:49 AM.

Obama in Chicago: Navy Pier late night with Derrick Rose, Ernie Banks was the previous entry in this blog.

Obama: Hosting Passover seder Monday is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.