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News

First Lady Greets Military Families at ‘Toys For Tots’ Event

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7, 2016 — First Lady Michelle Obama and military families joined at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling here today to sort toys for the Marine Corps Reserve’s “Toys for Tots” program 

Obama has participated in the program each year since her husband took office in 2009.

During the event, the first lady also acknowledged today’s 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack. “When we acknowledge the sacrifice of so many, I want to say a very special thank you to our service members who are here today,” she said.

Sorting the toys for under-privileged children across the country is what the holidays are about, she told the military children, adding that the holidays are about the spirit of service and the belief that in the United States. People should look out for one another, she said.  

“No matter what anybody says, we are all in this country together. You all belong here. And that’s true not just during the holidays, but every single day of the year, [and] that’s what I’ve seen all across the country these past eight years as first lady,” she added. 

*Spirit of Service in Military Families*

“I have seen it, first and foremost, in our military families -– in brave men and women who serve around the world, and they keep us safe,” the first lady said, “[and] in the military spouses who work so hard to keep their families strong and together while their loved ones are serving. And of course, I have seen it every day in our amazing military kids. I am so awed watching you young people step up when your mom and dad are doing some hard stuff.  You step up at home and you take on extra chores.” 

She told the military children she knows they often attend 10 to 12 different schools and must get good grades while making new friends with children from every background, race and religion and around the world.

*‘Beautifully Diverse’*

“That’s something that we can all celebrate during this holiday season. It’s something that we have to remember every day: How we are so beautifully diverse, but we have so much in common,” Obama said, citing love for families, pride in their country, and the commitment to help one another in times of need.

“On behalf of myself and the president and my family, I just want to thank you all for the privilege to serve, and thank everyone at Toys for Tots for everything you’re doing,” the first lady said. “And we wish you all a wonderful holiday season, a merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year.  

The first lady arrived bearing gifts for the local Toys for Tots organization from the White House staff, she said, as she asked the children to help her sort toys by age and gender.

“Toys for Tots” program [ http://www.toysfortots.org/about_toys_for_tots/toys_for_tots_program/default.aspx?source=GovDelivery ]