Tag Archives: Michelle Obama

President Obama & First Lady Michelle Obama Mark the One-Year Anniversary of the Sandy Hook Shooting, 12/14/13

The President and First Lady observe a moment of silence and light candles at the White House in honor of those lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

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Now Is the Time — The President’s plan to reduce gun violence: http://1.usa.gov/1b6Af35

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Holidays at the White House 2013: Gingerbread White House, the National Tree, Decorations


Building the 2013 Gingerbread White House

As part of White House holiday tradition, the State Dining Room is home to the famous gingerbread house. Over the course of several weeks, Pastry Chef Bill Yosses and his talented team created a 300-pound, edible White House replica. This year’s creation features a mini Bo and Sunny sitting on the front steps of the house lit from within, and a functioning replica of the North Lawn fountain. Dec. 9, 2013


National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony 2013

The President:

“Merry Christmas, everybody! Well, this show is always a great way to get in the holiday spirit. Every year, I rehearse my own little act, just in case. But it seems like, yet again, they couldn’t find space to squeeze me into the program. (Laughter.) You are lucky I’m not singing.

First of all, let me thank Secretary Jewell and welcome her to her first Christmas Tree Lighting. She is doing a great job for our national parks. She used to run one of America’s biggest outdoor recreation companies, and now she’s charged with protecting the great outdoors for all of us. So we appreciate her and we want to thank Neil Mulholland and the whole National Park Foundation and National Park Service team for helping to put this beautiful production together.

Let’s also give it up for Jane Lynch and all the great performers who are doing an incredible job putting us in a festive mood tonight. (Applause.) And to all Americans who are here today and watching at home, we are so glad to be part of this wonderful holiday tradition.

For 91 years, the National Christmas Tree has stood as a beacon of light and a promise during the holiday season. During times of peace and prosperity, challenge and change, Americans have gathered around our national tree to kick off the holiday season and give thanks for everything that makes this time of year so magical — spending time with friends and family, and spreading tidings of peace and goodwill here at home and around the world.

And this year, we give a special measure of gratitude for Nelson Mandela, a man who championed that generosity of spirit. (Applause.) In his life, he blessed us with tremendous grace and unbelievable courage. And we are all privileged to live in a world touched by his goodness.

Each Christmas, we celebrate the birth of a child who came into the world with only a stable’s roof to shelter Him. But through a life of humility and the ultimate sacrifice, a life guided by faith and kindness towards others, Christ assumed a mighty voice, teaching us lessons of compassion and charity that have lasted more than two millennia. He ministered to the poor. He embraced the outcast. He healed the sick. And in Him we see a living example of scripture that we ought to love others not only through our words, but also through our deeds.

It’s a message both timeless and universal — no matter what God you pray to, or if you pray to none at all — we all have a responsibility to ourselves and to each other to make a difference that is real and lasting. We are our brother’s keeper. We are our sister’s keeper.

And so in this season of generosity, let’s reach out to those who need help the most. In this season of reflection, let’s make sure that our incredibly brave servicemembers and their families know how much we appreciate their sacrifice. And there are several military families and servicemen and women here tonight. We are so grateful to you for all that you do. (Applause.)

In this season of hope, let us come together as one people, one family to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to keep America the land of endless opportunity and boundless optimism for which we’re so thankful.

So on behalf of Malia, Sasha, Marian, the First Lady Michelle, plus Bo and Sunny, I want to wish everybody a Merry Christmas and a joyful holiday season. God bless you. God bless our troops. God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)”

Source: http://1.usa.gov/IMcFlN


First Lady Michelle Obama Previews the 2013 White House Holiday Decorations

The First Lady:

“And that actually brings me to this year’s official White House holiday theme, which is “Gather Around: Stories of the Season.” This holiday season, we’ll be focusing on the stories behind classic American holiday traditions — traditions celebrated here at the White House and across the country. Our goal is for every room and every tree to tell a story about who we are and how we gather around one another to mark the holidays.

And that starts with all of you — literally. In fact, when visitors arrive, the very first thing they’ll see is a tree decorated to pay tribute to our Armed Forces. This tree, graced with special Gold Star ornaments, tells the story of some of our greatest heroes: Those who gave their lives for our country. And any Gold Star family who visits the White House can create their own ornament to honor their loved one. In addition, everyone who visits this White House this year gets a chance to fill out an Operation Honor Card pledging to serve their community in honor of our military families, your servicemembers, your veterans, whoever you choose, just find a way to serve.

We also have an entire room — it’s right next door, it’s the Blue Room, one of my favorite rooms — dedicated to the idea of gathering around our military. The tree in that room is decorated with holiday greeting cards drawn by military children from bases all across the country as a way to celebrate their parents’ service. And they’re beautiful, they’re really sweet cards.

So that’s how we’ll be honoring our veterans and servicemembers and their families this holiday season. And I would ask during this time that every American find a way to honor these great Americans, not just during the holidays, but every day. And let us never forget the debt that we owe these men and women and their amazing families.

As for the rest of the house, because there is more, we have a number of special touches that build on our “Gather Around: Stories of the Season” theme. In the East Garden Room, you’ll see Christmas trees made entirely of stacks of books. You may have seen those coming in, they’re very cool. In the Cross Hall, you’ll see trees reflecting the idea of gathering around our heritage. They’ll be decorated with ornaments representing great American sites like the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore, and there’s some silhouettes of people you might know today in history, so you guys will look and see if you recognize anyone.

And of course, we have our usual first dog display. This year, Bo will be joined by his little sister Sunny, our new pup, and the two of them will be surrounded by books. And I was surprised to see last night, this year they actually move. They’re mechanical. This is a new step. We’re stepping up in the world of Bo-and-Sunny honoring. And these are just a few of this year’s highlights.

Although people who visit the White House will see dozens of trees and wreaths, they’re going to see thousands of ornaments and they’re going to see a gingerbread house that weighs about 300 pounds — it’s pretty big — some of the best sights they’ll see are kids enjoying all of this just wonderful glory. Some of the best times in this White House is just watching the faces of kids as they walk through this house and count the trees and look at the ornaments.

And none of this would be possible without the 83 volunteers like Diane who came from all across the country to help us decorate, once again, sacrificing, leaving their families — because they start decorating this house the day after Thanksgiving. It would not be possible for us to do all of this without our volunteers. They are a pleasure to work with, they are high-energy, they are positive. And just look around. I mean, every year they just outdo themselves. So we are just so grateful for their hard work and enthusiasm.

Now, over the course of this season, about 70,000 people will come to see our holiday decorations — not bad. And I can’t imagine a better group of people than all of you to be our very first guests. Don’t you feel special? No one has seen these, not even the President has seen these. (Applause.) He hasn’t seen them yet. You guys are the first.

And truly, it is a treat to make you all the first every season, because you all do so much for us. And we are so proud and so honored and so grateful. And we just want to give you a chance to bring your families in to just get a little special something just to remind you just how special we all think you are.”

Source: http://1.usa.gov/191xLqu

West Wing Week 11/15/13 or, “We Will Stand By Your Side”

Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that’s happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and beyond. This week, the First and Second Families honored Veterans Day, the President traveled to New Orleans and to Cleveland to speak on the importance of infrastructure to job creation, signed the EpiPen Law, discussed immigration reform with Faith Leaders and attended the 5th Annual Tribal Nations Conference. That’s November 8th to November 14th or “We Will Stand By Your Side.”

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks at Disney’s Veterans Institute, 11/14/13

White House:

First Lady Michelle Obama delivered the keynote address at Disney’s first-ever Veterans Institute workshop at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL. The event brought together business experts, government officials, veterans and leaders from non-profit veterans service organizations to share experiences, best practices, and tips for making a successful transition from the military to the civilian workforce.

Disney Hosts the Veterans Institute Workshop to Support Transitioning Service Members And Their Families

by Col. Rich Morales, Executive Director of Joining Forces

On behalf of the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden, I want to congratulate Disney for hosting the first-ever Veterans Institute workshop. This day-long event encouraged companies from across the U.S. to hire, train, and support our nation’s military service members and their families as they transition to civilian life. Since launching Joining Forces two and half years ago, companies across the U.S. have answered the call to support our nation’s military communities by hiring more than 380,000 veterans and military spouses – with nearly 100,000 being hired in the past six months.

Over the next five years, more than a million service members will be hanging up their uniforms, and transitioning out of the military to pursue civilian careers. Ensuring that these men and women have the resources and the employment opportunities to transition successfully is critical. They finished their service to our nation, now they deserve to come home without worrying about the struggles of finding meaningful employment.

“When you hire a veteran, you’re not just giving a highly qualified employee the chance to help your company succeed,” explained the First Lady at the Veterans Institute workshop. “You’re giving that hero’s family the security that comes with a steady paycheck.”

Even though our veterans are well-deserving and some of the most qualified and dedicated workers out there, far too many will face difficulties securing a job in the civilian workforce. Through the Joining Forces Initiative, the First Lady and Dr. Biden challenged companies to help alleviate employment hurdles by recognizing the skills and talents of our veterans and to hire as many as possible.

“Hiring veterans is the smart thing to do for your businesses – because veterans are some of the highest-skilled, hardest-working employees that you can find,” explained the First Lady on the importance of hiring veterans. “And we’re counting on all of you to ensure that these veterans can get the good jobs they deserve. “

Companies are stepping up; for example, Starbucks just announced that over the next five years, they plan to hire 10,000 veterans and military spouses. We also have companies like AT&T and Facebook doubling their veteran hiring commitments. We have made significant progress in helping our veterans find employment – but we still have a long road ahead of us.

“And we’re not going to stop until all of our veterans know that when they hit that job market, their skills will be rewarded,” said Mrs. Obama.

On behalf of the First Lady and Dr. Biden, I would like to encourage all companies and organizations to keep this momentum going and to continue hiring new veterans. Together, we can support and serve those who sacrificed to protect our freedoms.

Source: http://1.usa.gov/1gPhSYf

The First Lady speaks on the power of education, 11/12/13

Mrs. Obama:

“See, when Barack came into office, one of the very first things he did was to set what he calls a North Star goal for the entire country -– that by the year 2020, the year that all of you will be graduating from college, that this country will have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.

Now, Barack set this goal because as a — a generation ago, we were number one in college graduates. But over the past couple of decades, this country has slipped all the way to 12th. We’ve slipped. And that’s unacceptable, and we’ve all got a lot of work to do to turn that around and get back on top.

But Barack didn’t just set that goal because it’s good for our country. He did it because he knows how important higher education is to all of you as individuals. Because when the year 2020 rolls around, nearly two-thirds of all jobs in this country are going to require some form of training beyond high school. That means whether it’s a vocational program, community college, a four-year university, you all are going to need some form of higher education in order to build the kind of lives that you want for yourselves, good careers, to be able to provide for your family.

And that’s why the President and Secretary Duncan have been doing everything they can to make sure that kids like you get the best education possible and that you have everything you need to continue your education after high school. They’ve been fighting to strengthen your schools and to support your teachers. They’ve been working hard to make college more affordable for all young people in this country no matter where you come from or how much money your parents have. They’ve been working with parents, teachers, administrators, community leaders all across this country just to help you succeed.

But here’s the thing — and I want you to listen to this — at the end of the day, no matter what the President does, no matter what your teachers and principals do or whatever is going on in your home or in your neighborhood, the person with the biggest impact on your education is you. It’s that simple. It is you, the student. And more than anything else, meeting that 2020 goal is going to take young people like all of you across this country stepping up and taking control of your education.”

Complete text: http://1.usa.gov/1cl0e9a

First Lady speaks at Careers in Film Symposium, 11/8/13

The First Lady:

“So you all have had a chance to learn the nuts and bolts of the movie business from some of Hollywood’s most respected leaders. But here’s the thing: These folks know that it doesn’t just take technical knowledge to succeed in the movie business. That’s one of the important points we want you all to take away. It’s not just about being a good actor or knowing how to create the best special effects. It’s also about things like grit. It’s about determination, resilience. Because all of those character traits — the ability to overcome adversity — all of that are some of the traits and skills that have made the folks on this stage successful in life. And that’s what I want you guys to understand.

Talent comes and goes. But it’s your ability to dig deep when things are hard and make things happen for yourself — that’s the difference between just an average life and success. And there are many examples up on this stage….

Because no matter what kind of neighborhood you come from, no matter what obstacle you are facing in your path right now — I don’t care what’s happening to you today, you can always find something that you’re passionate about. You can always find something worth working for in your life.

And once you find that passion, whether it’s film — maybe it’s science or business, maybe it’s teaching — anything, you have got to get your education…. And getting your education means doing everything you can. It is on you….

….And if you do that, if you own your education and you don’t let any excuses get in your way, no obstacle block you, then I guarantee you can achieve anything that you put your mind to. As Gayle once said — she said, “Confidence comes by doing and doing and doing. That’s the secret.” And she said, “You can’t get confident without working hard. That’s the key to everything.”

The President works hard. Everybody in this room — every intern, every person with a light or a camera, they get up and they work hard. That’s the difference. So I want you all to have that confidence for yourself.

And I hope that this day here in the White House showed you that if you can walk into the White House and sit in the East Room with all these stars and greats, that you can do anything. Do you realize that? You have been in this room in this house with all of us. So you can do anything. Can you just own that for a minute? Stand up a little straighter. (Laughter.) Own it. I spent the day at the White House with the First Lady and with all these stars and actors, and I held it together. (Laughter.)….

And promise me that you will do everything you can in your powers to get the education that is right before you. Because there are kids all over the world that would love to trade places with any single one of you, because they don’t have a fraction of the opportunities that kids in America do, kids like all of you. So promise me that you will take this seriously. Take your lives seriously. Own your futures, because we all did.”