Military Spouses Are Heroes, First Lady Says
(October 28, 2010)
|WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2010 – The needs and concerns of military spouses, whose
sacrifices benefit the nation, should be of concern to all Americans, First Lady
Michelle Obama said today.|
“These women and men -- they are heroes and it's time that we recognize the
challenges they face and the obstacles they overcome and the contributions they
make,” Obama said at the Women's Conference� 2010, held Oct. 24-26 in Long
“It is an issue that I believe should be on the agenda of every women's
conference, right up there with equal pay, right up there with work-family
balance, right up there with breaking the glass ceiling,” the first lady told
30,000 attendees who gathered to hear Obama and more than 100 other speakers
during the annual forum.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, hosted the
meeting. The Women's Conference also is a global online community with more than
1 million participants.
Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, also addressed the conference.
“One of the best parts of my role as second lady is the time I spend meeting
servicemembers, military families, veterans and wounded warriors – people who
honor us with their service across this country and around the world,” she said
in prepared remarks.
Women make up 15 percent of the military and serve in leadership positions in
every branch of the service, Biden added.
“In recognition of that evolution,” she said, “the president is expanding and
enhancing care for women veterans and looking for ways to expand childcare.”
Obama said her husband, President Barack Obama, also has worked hard on behalf
of military families -- strengthening support programs and counseling services
and increasing funds for housing, childcare and career development.
“He's extended the Family and Medical Leave Act to more military families and
caregivers, and we're working with states to streamline requirements so that
spouses don't have to reapply for professional credentials and take new tests
every time they move,” she said.
“But the truth is that there is so much more that each of us can do and should
do right in our own communities ... [and] it's time for each of us to act,” the
first lady said.
Obama called on teachers, school administrators and PTA members to see what
their schools can do to better support military kids. Lawyers, accountants or
counselors can offer services pro bono to some military families in their
Small-business owners or human resources professionals who work in large
companies, she said, can make an effort to hire more military spouses and help
make the workplace more accommodating to military spouses.
People with time to volunteer can go to the United We Serve website to find out
how to help military families in their areas, Obama said.
The needs and concerns of military spouses “should be on the agenda of every
woman and every American because they represent the very best this country has
to offer,” the first lady said.
“It's time that each of us did our part to give them the support they need, the
recognition they deserve and the gratitude they've earned,” she added. “I look
forward to working with all of you in some way, shape or form to make that
happen in the months and years ahead.”
By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service
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