Jill Biden wears a necklace in tribute to Beau as she announces the ‘next chapter’ of Joining Forces

0

Jill Biden on Wednesday launched the “next chapter” of Joining Forces, the military family initiative she started with Michelle Obama during that administration.

“Service providers cannot be focused on their mission if their families don’t have what they need to thrive at home,” the first lady said in her announcement speech.

Biden wore a necklace with a pendant with her son Beau’s name and said her iteration of Joining Forces will focus on three items: employment and entrepreneurship for military families, along with better access to childcare, education for the more than 2 million children of enlisted parents and veterans, and the overall health and welfare of military families.

How can we hope to keep our army strong if we don’t give our family’s survivors and caretakers what they need to survive; if we fail to fulfill our sacred obligation? And that’s why we’re here today and what joining forces is all about, ”she said.

Biden turned her work with military families over to the Biden Foundation after she left public life as the United States’ second lady.

When Joe Biden was elected president, she announced that she would relaunch her and Michelle Obama’s signature initiative, with the two women working with military families and high-profile figures such as Prince Harry.

Jill Biden launched the 'next chapter' of Joining Forces, the military family initiative she started with Michelle Obama

Jill Biden launched the ‘next chapter’ of Joining Forces, the military family initiative she started with Michelle Obama

The first lady wore a necklace with a pendant bearing the name of her son Beau;  Beau Biden served in the National Guard before his death from cancer in 2015

The first lady wore a necklace with a pendant bearing the name of her son Beau;  Beau Biden served in the National Guard before his death from cancer in 2015

The first lady wore a necklace with a pendant bearing the name of her son Beau; Beau Biden served in the National Guard before his death from cancer in 2015

Jill Biden talks to an employee at Military One Source, an active military center / call center for service workers, their families, and survivors, in Arlington, Virginia.

Jill Biden talks to an employee at Military One Source, an active military center / call center for service workers, their families, and survivors, in Arlington, Virginia.

Jill Biden talks to an employee at Military One Source, an active military center / call center for service workers, their families, and survivors, in Arlington, Virginia.

In her comments at the White House, the first lady paid tribute to Michelle Obama, who started the project with her in 2011, and to her late son Beau, a National Guard veteran who died of brain cancer in 2015.

She also praised military families for the sacrifices they make.

“Military families are just as important to our national defense as a rudder is to a ship, and we should always act on that truth,” she said.

She noted that only 1 percent of the country serves in the fully voluntary military, and the Department of Defense estimates an unemployment rate of 22 percent for military spouses.

“We cannot expect to remain the best and brightest when our service representatives are forced to choose between their love for the land and the hopes and dreams they have for their families,” she said.

“We have to help you bear this weight.”

At her announcement, Biden was virtually joined by US military families and others from around the world, in total more than 100 people appeared in individual boxes on screens behind her onstage.

The first lady visited military bases in the state of California and Washington state earlier this month as part of a listening visit to the needs of families. She has also spoken to military children around the world through Zoom to hear about their needs and met military husbands.

At her announcement, Jill Biden was joined virtually, by US military families and others from around the world, in total more than 100 people appeared in individual boxes on screens behind her onstage.

At her announcement, Jill Biden was joined virtually, by US military families and others from around the world, in total more than 100 people appeared in individual boxes on screens behind her onstage.

At her announcement, Jill Biden was joined virtually, by US military families and others from around the world, in total more than 100 people appeared in individual boxes on screens behind her onstage.

Jill Biden speaks to military families after her White House announcement

Jill Biden speaks to military families after her White House announcement

Jill Biden speaks to military families after her White House announcement

Michelle Obama and Jill Biden started joining forces in 2011;  Above the two women with the Biden's dog Champ held an event at the vice president's home in May 2012

Michelle Obama and Jill Biden started joining forces in 2011;  Above the two women with the Biden's dog Champ held an event at the vice president's home in May 2012

Michelle Obama and Jill Biden started joining forces in 2011; Above the two women with the Biden’s dog Champ held an event at the vice president’s home in May 2012

Jill Biden, Prince Harry and Michelle Obama meet military families at the White House during Prince Harry's visit to the United States in May 2013

Jill Biden, Prince Harry and Michelle Obama meet military families at the White House during Prince Harry's visit to the United States in May 2013

Jill Biden, Prince Harry and Michelle Obama meet military families at the White House during Prince Harry’s visit to the United States in May 2013

Following her announcement on Wednesday, the first lady visited Military OneSource in Arlington, Virginia, a Department of Defense call center that provides 24/7 support to service representatives and their families on a range of issues from health care questions to taxes.

Erika Slaton, the center’s deputy director, told the first lady, “ We have master-level consultants available 24/7 by phone and live chat, and one of the most requested services through Military OneSource is a husband’s job. , followed by non-medical guidance for those mundane and military life issues, and then our technical services. ‘

Biden took a tour of the center and asked the staff about the calls they received.

“Thank you for helping our military members and their families … and making their lives easier,” she told them.

She was accompanied on her visit by Charlene Austin, the wife of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and Hollyanne Milley, wife of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Biden has taken off as first lady and has taken on multiple roles and projects for her husband’s administration. She helps him sell his American rescue plan to the public.

Her other causes are education – she’s a teacher – and cancer research.