First lady Jill Biden broke away from President Joe Biden to speak to high school seniors at a US military base in Japan on Sunday.
The first lady spoke to seniors at Matthew C. Perry High School, located at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi, Japan — the base where she and the president flew in for their trip to Hiroshima for the G7 summit.
‘Pump it up brown!’ she exclaimed in front of the crowd of old people, dressed in bonnets and brown dresses. When they yelled back at her, she said with relief, “Thank God you said that, I was worried.”
Dr Biden also participated in a “clap out” with the group, where members of the public – including young children – clapped and cheered the elderly as they made their way to the risers.
“You are better prepared to face the future than almost anyone your age,” she told the students.
First lady Jill Biden broke away from President Joe Biden to speak to high school seniors at a US military base in Japan on Sunday
She acknowledged that it’s hard to be a military kid: “Your world was never a black-and-white TV sitcom.”
Dr. Biden noted how they lived, “Walking into a dining room and not seeing a familiar face.”
She applauded the students who decided to enlist.
“I know you will continue to serve your country in your own way,” she told others.
She ended with a poem by Walt Whitman. “I’m sure you all know that,” she joked.
The first lady’s stopover at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni is part of her Joining Forces initiative, which she started with first lady Michelle Obama when she was second lady.
She rejuvenated it when the Bidens arrived in the White House in January 2021.
Dr. Jill Biden listens to the Japanese and American national anthems during a graduation ceremony for seniors at Matthew C. Perry High School, located at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi, Japan
Dr Biden left for DC after spending 15 minutes shaking hands and speaking to members of the public – leaving her husband in Japan as he still had a meeting with Ukrainian Volodymyr Zelensky and a press conference on his program of the G7.
The first lady traveled separately as she stopped in Alaska for an event en route to Japan.
For her part of the trip, she mostly spent time with G7 spouses.
She has spent the past two days with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s wife Akshata Murty, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s wife Yuko Kishida, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s wife Britta Ernst and the husband of the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, Heiko von der Leyen.
Brigitte Macron, with whom Dr Biden spent a lot of time, did not make the trip with her husband, French President Emmanuel Macron.
Dr Biden kicked off the three-day summit by accompanying President Joe Biden to the Peace Park and Hiroshima Memorial Museum.
She participated in a separate wreath-laying ceremony for spouses, had tea with the spouses, and then addressed local students at the Next Generations Symposium on Friday evening.
First Lady Jill Biden (second from left) participated in a wreath laying ceremony alongside (from left) British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murty, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s wife, Yuko Kishida, wife of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Britta Ernst and husband of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Heiko von der Leyen
On Saturday, the couple took a trip to Miyajima Island and posed for photos with umbrellas at Itsukushima Shrine
The spouses attend a demonstration at Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island just outside Hiroshima, Japan on Saturday
“Today we gather just steps from the monument that commemorates part of the deadliest war ever known to mankind,” she said when it was her turn to speak. “We need to teach this history, so we can understand the choices available to us.”
“Choose creation over destruction, innovation over inhumanity, peace over bloodshed, democracy over autocracy,” she continued.
She told the young people that they are “the builders of democracy”.
And she praised the next generation for ‘leading movements for change’, including ‘working for climate justice’.
She was running about 10 minutes late for the event and was joined by her granddaughter Maisy, who graduated from college earlier this week at the University of Pennsylvania.
While the G7 leaders gathered at Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island on Friday evening, the spouses visited the monument on Saturday.
They did a photo shoot posing with umbrellas in front of the iconic floating gate.
Dr Biden had lunch on the island with the other G7 spouses, then joined her husband for Friday night dinner at the Grand Prince Hotel in Hiroshima.