Michelle Obama salutes ‘Power’ of serving

Women's Impact Report 2012

Congratulations to this year’s Impact Honorees. I am truly grateful for all you have done to help lift up others across our country and around the world. Each honoree has shown that through your chosen cause, you can make a difference. The entertainment industry consistently uses its incredible reach and influence to make a real impact on so many different issues, and for that I am truly grateful. One issue that we’ve seen your industry rally around involves supporting and honoring our military families. This issue is close to my heart, and I believe that together we have a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness for those who make the ultimate sacrifice for our county: our troops, veterans, and their families.

As First Lady, I have had the tremendous privilege of traveling across this country and meeting with our extraordinary military families. These families are all around us. They are our neighbors, coworkers and church members, moving from base to base every couple of years, raising their kids and running their households all alone while a loved one is deployed. They are our children’s friends, constantly adjusting to new schools and to the strain of being apart from mom or dad for months on end.

Make no mistake about it, when our men and women in uniform are called to serve, their families serve right alongside them.

That’s why last year, Dr. Jill Biden and I launched Joining Forces, a nationwide effort to rally all Americans to recognize, honor and support our veterans and military families. And I am asking you, as a member of the entertainment community, to help share the story of these families – help make these proud, courageous, patriotic Americans a part of what you do every day.

As storytellers you have the ability to capture our imaginations, stir our nation’s conscience, and inspire all Americans to embrace our true potential. That’s why I’ve joined forces with various individuals across the entertainment industry, from Tom Hanks to Steven Spielberg to Oprah Winfrey. We have recorded public service announcements that have raised awareness and sparked a dialogue about sharing the stories of military families through film, television and digital media. I’ve worked with “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” to build transitional housing for homeless veterans in North Carolina. I even danced my way through an “iCarly” episode that highlighted what military children experience while a parent is deployed.

I am so grateful for everything the entertainment industry has already done, and I know we can do even more. That’s why I am asking you to use your creativity to share our military families’ stories. Develop a character who is preparing to deploy. Explore the challenges a veteran faces when he or she returns home. Share the story of the military spouse who balances work, family, and school while dealing with the stress of a deployment. Help all Americans see and feel the challenges our brave military families face – and overcome – every single day.

By stepping up and doing your part to tell these stories, you will encourage others across America to join forces on behalf of these families. And together, we can all do our part to serve them as well as they and their loved ones have served this country.