(WASHINGTON) — First lady Michelle Obama admitted Wednesday that she binge-watches military homecoming videos.
“I don’t know about you, but I could watch those videos all day,” she said at a Joining Forces event at the American Red Cross. “These scenes tug at our heartstrings … but these heartfelt moments raise so many questions and so many concerns: What happens after the cameras are turned off? What’s next for those families?”
Returning veterans often suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injuries, Mrs. Obama pointed out. In addition to serving as caregivers for their spouses, military husbands and wives may have trouble finding work, and their children struggle to cope with repeated moves and constant uncertainty, she said.
“For most of us, that surprise homecoming, that feel-good moment, that’s the happy ending to the story, but for these families, it’s really just the beginning,” the first lady said.
The Veterans Philanthropy Exchange, a new association of more than 30 military support charities, has pledged $102 million in funding for military families over the next five years, the first lady announced on Wednesday. That’s on top of their existing $62 million pledge.
“We are at a pivotal moment. By the end of this year, after 13 long years of war, our war in Afghanistan will be over,” Mrs. Obama said. “More and more of our newest veterans, the 9/11 generation, will be hanging up their uniforms and transitioning to civilian life.”
“It’s going to be easy to forget the burdens they’ve shouldered,” she added. “We’ve got to show our veterans and military families that our country is there for them, not just when they’re in uniform, but for the long haul.”
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