Hello, everyone! Thank you, Marjorie, for hosting us here today and for your ongoing collaboration as we support our service men and women and their families.
As Second Lady, and as a military mom, I have been honored to spend time with our troops, and our recovering service members—and I am so inspired by the strength and resilience of both British and American military families and veterans. Major Peter Norton, thank you for your service.
I know a spirit of service is deeply ingrained in all of you … that the warrior mentality doesn’t leave you when you return from war – or when you separate from the military.
Over the past few days, I have visited with Wounded Warriors and medical staff at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center … and spent the day with soldiers and their families at a US Army base in Germany.
With each visit, I am reminded that our service members and their families have done so much for us … and we can all do something in return.
That spirit is what fuels the Joining Forces initiative the First Lady and I started to support and honor our troops and military families.
And I am very pleased to not only visit with some of the heroes that make the British military so strong, but also all the organizations here that support them.
I know that over the past 10 years, you have all worked so hard to improve the lives of the men and women who have sacrificed so much. It is your dedication and support that has made all the difference for so many veterans and their families.
You are truly Joining Forces.
The bonds that British and American troops share are unbreakable. You have served alongside one another every step of the way. Over 250,000 British troops have served alongside Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan. You are brothers and sisters in combat, but also in healing.
In 2010, a soldier named Brian attended a holiday gathering Joe and I hosted in our home. Brian was newly injured at the time, and he and his young family were adjusting to his new normal – walking on prosthetics … separating from the military … and caring for a newborn while healing from amputations and internal injuries sustained during a blast in Iraq.
Almost a year later, I was visiting wounded warriors at Walter Reed hospital when I met another young soldier who had just been injured in Afghanistan.
He told me that he had been struggling to adjust to losing his legs, and to the long healing process ahead of him.
But he said he was feeling much better because a fellow injured soldier had reached out to him and was mentoring him. That soldier was Brian.
Just a year after being injured, Brian was thriving. He gave other wounded warriors confidence that they too would once again be whole.
I use Brian as an example of that same inner strength we have seen in you as many of you have pursued physical challenges beyond what you ever imagined you could accomplish after your injuries.
Not only do you inspire countless other recovering warriors, you inspire me … my husband Joe … President Barack Obama … First Lady Michelle Obama … and all Americans.
To our heroes and your families, thank you for your sacrifice and service, and to our British partners and friends, thank you for your ongoing commitment to our service men and women.