Jan 28, 2009

First Lady's Letter to Military Families

This is a letter that was sent to all military families from First Lady Michelle Obama.

On Tuesday, as people from all walks of life come together in common purposeto begin the work of renewing America's promise, my daughters and I willstand beside my husband as he takes the oath of office as the 44th presidentof the United States.People have asked me how I'll feel at that moment. As a wife, I'll bethinking about how proud I am of my husband and how I believe so deeply thathe will be an extraordinary president. As a mother, I'll be bursting withpride at the thought of my girls now being able to envision endless choicesfor themselves and the joy it will be to watch them grow up in the WhiteHouse. And as a daughter, I'll be profoundly grateful to my parents, knowingthat I am here only because of their lifetime of faith and hard work.They're my proof that the American promise endures. It's that promise we allshare - that our children might grow up with unlimited possibility, that ourfamilies might know the dreams of opportunity and prosperity, that people inevery nation might look at the proud banner of this country and know theboundless meaning of hope.As I take on my newest role - First Lady - I'll be thinking about what thatpromise means to all those whom I've had the humbling privilege to meetthese past two years on the campaign trail: Americans across the country whoopened their doors and hearts to share their stories with me- stories I carry to this day.I particularly cherished my visits with military families all across thecountry. I met so many strong and inspiring military spouses eager to sharetheir stories, their dreams for the future and the unique challenges theyface because of their families' selfless service to our country.And if there's one thing I learned, it's that when our servicemen and womengo to war, their families go with them. I saw how they take care of eachother, heard how they fill in whenever the system fails and discovered thatthe trials they faced always were matched by the hope they shared thatbetter days are still ahead.The simple 35-word oath my husband will take and the peaceful transfer ofpower it completes makes it easy to forget that the great fortune of ourcitizenship isn't free at all. It's a responsibility inherited only becausegenerations of Americans have fought and bled and died for it.So as I watch Barack take that oath, I'll be thinking especially about thosemembers of our American family who stand guard across the world and theloved ones who await their safe return. Because even as we mark this momentin American history, there still will be empty seats at the dinner table;there still will be spouses struggling to juggle roles and responsibilities;there still will be children who mark the passing of a birthday withoutMommy and toddlers who know their father only by a grainy video stream froma far-flung corner of the globe.My husband and I are deeply grateful for the sacrifices that these familiesmake to protect all American families. And we join them - today and everyday - in praying for their loved ones and their safety. They don't ask a lotin return, just a Washington that understands the challenges they face aspart of their extraordinary commitment to our country.My husband understands that commitment, and he will ensure America lives upto its end. As military families join us on Tuesday, in person and inspirit, I want each and every one of them to know that for as long as I havethe tremendous honor of being your First Lady, your voices will be heard,you will have an advocate in the White House, and the American promise youpreserve always will extend to you, too.All of us can learn a fundamental lesson from our military families: Youdon't need to wear a uniform to serve your country. We all have something tocontribute to the life of this nation. Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. And to honor the legacy of a man whobelieved that everybody could be great because anybody can serve, my familyand I will spend the day performing activities in service to others. Andwe'll ask all Americans to join us in making an ongoing commitment to servetheir community and their country, because in this new season of hope,that's the only way we'll begin renewing America's promise for all who reachfor it and all who defend it - as one nation and one people.On Tuesday night, my husband and I will tuck in our daughters like we alwaysdo. Their bedrooms will be different, their home unfamiliar. But they willdrift off to sleep protected by that same sacrifice that has kept all of ourfamilies safe and safeguarded our freedom for generations - the sacrifice ofour men and women in uniform and their families.For that, we could not be more grateful - or more proud.

***Obviously, it is a little behind but still a nice gesture!

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