Following comments from Jill Biden, the vice president's wife and Obama's teammate in helping veterans, she noted that unlike Biden, she had little familiarity with the military prior to campaigning for the White House in 2008.
“Unlike Jill, I wasn't a military mom. I wasn't a Blue Star family member. I didn't know much about the military, and I was probably more like the average American,” said Obama.
She added that 99 percent of the nation takes the military’s service for granted. “Because when one percent of the country is serving and protecting the freedoms of the other 99 percent, it’s very easy for the other 99 percent to take that for granted.”
When she did come into contact with military families and the hardships they face, the first lady said that she was “blown away.”
“I first was exposed to the military community on the campaign trail. I remember that we would do these gatherings with moms, women — mostly working women — because I wanted to hear through — for my husband what were some of the challenges of working women out there. And everywhere we went, I heard the voice of a woman that I hadn’t heard before, and it was your voice. And I was just awed and blown away by what I heard through those voices, the challenges you all face,” she said.
But, she added, life on the campaign trail felt like military life. “Dealing with everything that I was dealing with — a spouse traveling, a job, kids — we didn’t deal with multiple moves, but I learned about the challenges that happen when you move from base to base to base; the way your kids have to adjust on a dime. And doing it knowing that the person you love is in harm’s way. And those stories moved me in a way that I didn’t expect.”Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.