In announcing the time table for the withdrawal of US Forces from Iraq, President Barack Obama spoke of his wife's commitment to military families. "My wife Michelle has learned firsthand about the unique burden that your families endure every day," the President told an audience 3700 marines at Camp Lejeune, "I want you to know this: military families are a top priority for Michelle and me, and they will be a top priority for my administration." Mrs. Obama has long said military families would be a central focus of her agenda as First Lady. While on the campaign trail, she hosted a series of roundtables for working women to discuss the challenges of balancing career and family. Mrs. Obama was particularly moved by her conversations with military wives, because of the added burdens they face with a spouse often abroad and in harm's way. She then began hosting regular roundtables with military wives. "The work family balance issue - for women of all backgrounds - continues to be at the top of her list," said the First Lady's spokeswoman Katie McCormick-Lelyveld.
Mrs. Obama has yet to have a formal event dedicated to the cause of military families since becoming First Lady, though Ms. McCormick-Lelyveld says she plans to continue the roundtable discussions in the near future. Among the First Lady's guests at her husband's address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night, was Shannon Kenall. Kendall's husband Major Ryan Kendall has served in the Army for more than 10 years, most recently in Iraq. Kendall met Mrs. Obama before the election at a military-spouse family roundtable, and is the Family Readiness Group leader for her husband's Fort Hood-based unit.
-- Yunji de Nies