With her husband now overseeing a military action in Libya in addition to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, first lady Michelle Obama turned her attention Tuesday to military families, launching a program to ensure troops and their loved ones have the support they need.
Unveiling the new campaign with President Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his wife Jill by her side, Mrs. Obama said the effort, dubbed “Joining Forces,” is aimed at providing support for military families across a wide range of areas, including education, employment and wellness.
“Joining Forces was created to recognize and serve our nation’s extraordinary military families who, like their loved ones in uniform, serve and sacrifice so much so that we can live in freedom and security,” Mrs. Obama said. “This is a challenge to every segment of American society not to simply say thank you but to mobilize, take action and make a real commitment to supporting our military families.”
Two men who have crossed Mr. Obama in very public ways attended the kick-off event at the White House.
Nearly a year after Mr. Obama relieved him of his command in Afghanistan for critical media comments, retired Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who’s serving as an unpaid adviser for Joining Forces, was on hand. Also in the audience was Rep. Joe Wilson, the South Carolina Republican who famously shouted, “You lie!” during a joint address Mr. Obama delivered to Congress.
The White House said the campaign was formed in response to the concerns and needs of military families that Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Biden heard about during meetings with spouses and military leaders. Mr. Obama said he’s also been told of the same concerns when he’s visited troops abroad.
“When I ask them what can we do for you, there’s one thing they request more than anything else: Take care of my family,” he said. “Because when our troops are worried about their families back home, it’s harder for them to focus on the mission overseas.”
The website for the initiative is JoiningForces.gov.