ABC News' Sunlen Miller and Amy Bingham report:
Pulling the weight of the administration out today in full force – with speeches from President Obama, Vice President Biden, The First Lady, and Second Lady Jill Biden the administration launched a national public awareness campaign to honor and support the nation’s military families.
Michelle Obama and Dr Jill Biden are spearheading the effort and will travel for two days across the country to speak in various communities and businesses about the campaign.
“We’re hitting the road. Yes, Michelle and Jill on a road trip,” Mrs. Obama said from the East Room of the White House, “I think Jill is going to drive. We’re going to be traveling throughout the country, celebrating the service of military families and the communities, and nonprofits and businesses and folks who support those families every day.”
The initiative, called Joining Forces, teams up with the Center for a New American Security, a nonpartisan institution focused on national security – and will be guided by an advisory board – including retired General Stanley McChrystal and Patty Shinseki, the wife of Veterans Affairs Secretary Shinseki.
“Today, my administration is working to implement nearly 50 specific commitments to improve the lives of military families -—everything from protecting families from financial scams to improving education for military kids and spouses, to stepping up our fight to end homelessness among veterans,” President Obama touted, “ And as Commander-in-Chief, I’m not going to be satisfied until we meet these commitments.”
As part of the effort the administration will bring together some of the nation’s well known names and brands to help in the effort.
NASCAR, Walmart and Major League Baseball will be creating public service announcements featuring Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, among others to bring awareness to the military families needs, and talents.
In employment the initiative will aim to help connect military spouses and veterans to new jobs to advance their careers. In education, the initiative will help military children thrive in the classroom, and make it easier for military spouses to continue their education. There’s also an emphasis on mental health and wellness, hoping to “remind the nation” of the support that veteran and military families need.
“We’re Joining Forces with businesses, both large and small, including some of America’s biggest employers, which are making new commitments as we speak today,” Mrs. Obama said, “Companies like Sears, Kmart, and Sam’s Club are telling military spouses who work at their stores that if they move to a new duty station, they’ll do their best to have a job waiting for those spouses. Siemens is setting aside 10 percent of their open positions for veterans.”
“Our nation endures because these men and women are willing to defend it, with their very lives,” President Obama said, “And as a nation, it is our solemn duty and our moral obligation to serve these patriots as well as they serve us….Behind every American in uniform stands a wife, a husband, a mom, a dad, a son or a daughter, a sister or brother. These families -— these remarkable families — are the force behind the force.”
- Sunlen Miller and Amy Bingham