Michelle Obama on Oprah: Military Families Need to Be Reconnected to The Broader Community

Jan 27, 2011 11:43am

ABC New’s Sunlen Miller Reports: First Lady Michelle Obama will redouble efforts to shine a spotlight on the nation’s military families, in a campaign formally launching in March. In an appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” airing today, Mrs. Obama says that it’s not that Americans won’t help military families; it’s just that they are not aware of the pressures of deployment on families. This is something that she hopes to remedy. “We’re going to ask the country to get ourselves together and be a part of reconnecting these families to be a part of the broader community.” So often, Mrs. Obama says, people see a happy homecoming between military families on TV but do not see the other “ramifications” to the deployment that are not talked out. “And these families need some help and support to get through it.” On Monday, President Obama announced new initiatives to help support military families across the federal government and declared that they are now “upping their game” in support. Mrs. Obama said that there are a lot of simple things that people can do to help – if you’re an accountant, helping a military family prepare their taxes for example, she said. “A lot of these women can use a girl’s night out, a manicure, a pedicure, a break,” she said, “There are things we can do as a nation big and small.” Mrs. Obama first took up the issue of helping and highlighting military families during her husband’s 2008 presidential campaign. “Everywhere I went there were stories that were completely unfamiliar,” Mrs. Obama told Oprah in an interview taped last week, “and those were the stories of military women.” The First Lady said that in these families months go by where birthdays are missed, parents are struggling to raise kids alone and have to answer the questions for their children when mom and dad are coming home. “Their stories took my breath away,” Mrs. Obama said, “and I vowed then that if my husband had the honor of serving our country that I would be that voice.” The First Lady said that whenever she is feeling bad or sorry for herself she thinks of their courage and sacrifice. “I suck it up because of these families,” the First Lady said, “Part of the challenge of getting the message out about military families is they never ask for help.  They never ask for help because you don’t do that when you’re in the military. You get it done. That’s how you’re trained. That’s what you’re taught.” Mrs. Obama is in Columbia, South Carolina at Fort Jackson today, for a series of events that highlight the intersection of her Let’s Move!  campaign and military readiness. Watch Robin Roberts’ interview with first lady Michelle Obama Friday on “Good Morning America” at 7  a.m. ET

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