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The First Lady, The President, The Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden Serve on 9/11

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Kori Schulman

On September 11, 2010, the First Lady, the President, the Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden engaged in service activities to support our veterans, troops and military families, following remarks. Watch a video that takes you to service projects in McLean, VA, Washington, DC and New York City on the National Day of Service and Remembrance.

The National Day of Service and Remembrance was developed by 9/11 families and established into law by the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which President Obama signed in April 2009. Visit Serve.gov to find volunteer opportunities in your community.

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Filed under Dr. Jill Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama, Obama Administration, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized, Vice-President Joe Biden, Volunteerism

The President, the Vice President, the First Lady and Dr. Biden: A Day of Service and Remembrance

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Jesse Lee

President Barack Obama pauses during a moment of silence in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House at 8:46AM, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010, in remembrance of the time that the first plane hit the World Trade Center in 2001. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The President was joined by Defense Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs at the Pentagon Memorial.  Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden were at Zuccotti Park in New York City.  And the First Lady was with Mrs. Laura Bush at the memorial ceremony in honor of the passengers and crew of United Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

All of them took part in service projects afterwards, and Serve.gov is helping Americans across the country take part in this Day of Service and Remembrance.  Excerpts of their remarks below.

President Barack Obama participates in a service project at Ronald H Brown Middle School September 11 2010 in the Washington, DC. Obama attended an 9/11 anniversary memorial at the Pentagon earlier in the day. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images North America)

The President:

Nine years have now passed.  In that time, you have shed more tears than we will ever know.  And though it must seem some days as though the world has moved on to other things, I say to you today that your loved ones endure in the heart of our nation, now and forever.

Our remembrance today also requires a certain reflection.  As a nation, and as individuals, we must ask ourselves how best to honor them — those who died, those who sacrificed.  How do we preserve their legacy — not just on this day, but every day?

We need not look far for our answer.  The perpetrators of this evil act didn’t simply attack America; they attacked the very idea of America itself — all that we stand for and represent in the world.  And so the highest honor we can pay those we lost, indeed our greatest weapon in this ongoing war, is to do what our adversaries fear the most — to stay true to who we are, as Americans; to renew our sense of common purpose; to say that we define the character of our country, and we will not let the acts of some small band of murderers who slaughter the innocent and cower in caves distort who we are.

They doubted our will, but as Americans we persevere.  Today, in Afghanistan and beyond, we have gone on the offensive and struck major blows against al Qaeda and its allies.  We will do what is necessary to protect our country, and we honor all those who serve to keep us safe.

They may seek to strike fear in us, but they are no match for our resilience.  We do not succumb to fear, nor will we squander the optimism that has always defined us as a people.  On a day when others sought to destroy, we have chosen to build, with a National Day of Service and Remembrance that summons the inherent goodness of the American people.

They may seek to exploit our freedoms, but we will not sacrifice the liberties we cherish or hunker down behind walls of suspicion and mistrust.  They may wish to drive us apart, but we will not give in to their hatred and prejudice.  For Scripture teaches us to “get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”

They may seek to spark conflict between different faiths, but as Americans we are not — and never will be — at war with Islam.  It was not a religion that attacked us that September day — it was al Qaeda, a sorry band of men which perverts religion.  And just as we condemn intolerance and extremism abroad, so will we stay true to our traditions here at home as a diverse and tolerant nation.  We champion the rights of every American, including the right to worship as one chooses — as service members and civilians from many faiths do just steps from here, at the very spot where the terrorists struck this building.

Those who attacked us sought to demoralize us, divide us, to deprive us of the very unity, the very ideals, that make America America — those qualities that have made us a beacon of freedom and hope to billions around the world.  Today we declare once more we will never hand them that victory.  As Americans, we will keep alive the virtues and values that make us who we are and who we must always be.

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The First Lady:

(L-R) Gordon W.Felt, president of Families of Flight 93 and Joanne Hanley Superintendent of the Flight 93 National Memorial show U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama and former first lady Laura Bush the future site of the memorial that's under construction during a 9/11 Flight 93 commemoration September 11, 2010 in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. People gathered to honor the 40 victims of Flight 93 on the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. (Photo by Archie Carpenter/Getty Images North America)

The men and women of Flight 93 were college students and grandparents.  They were businessmen, pilots, and flight attendants.  There was a writer, an antique dealer, a lawyer, an engineer.

They came from all different backgrounds and all walks of life, and they all took a different path to that September morning.

But in that awful moment when the facts became clear, and they were called to make an impossible choice, they all found the same resolve.

They agreed to the same bold plan.

They called the people they loved –- many of them giving comfort instead of seeking it, explaining they were taking action, and that everything would be okay.

And then they rose as one, they acted as one, and together, they changed history’s course.

And in the days that followed, when we learned about the heroes of Flight 93 and what they had done, we were proud, we were awed, we were inspired, but I don’t think any of us were really surprised, because it was clear that these 40 individuals were no strangers to service and to sacrifice.  For them, putting others before themselves was nothing new because they were veterans, and coaches, and volunteers of all sorts of causes.

There was the disability rights advocate who carried a miniature copy of the Constitution everywhere she went.

There was the Census director who used to return to the homes she’d canvassed to drop off clothing and food for families in need.

There was the couple who quietly used their wealth to make interest-free loans to struggling families.

And to this day, they remind us -– not just by how they gave their lives, but by how they lived their lives -– that being a hero is not just a matter of fate, it’s a matter of choice.

I think that Jack Grandcolas put it best –- his wife, Lauren, was one of the passengers on the flight — and he said: “They were ordinary citizens thrown into a combat situation.  No one was a general or a dictator.  Their first thought was to be selfless.  They knew ‘There was a 98 percent chance we’re not going to make it, but let’s save others’.”

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Vice President Joe Biden (L)) and his wife Jill Biden (R) delivesr remarks during the annual 9/11 memorial service September 11, 2010 in New York City. People gathered at the World Trade Center site to mark the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people on September 11, 2001. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images North America)

Vice President Biden gave a reading of The Builders by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

All are architects of Fate,
Working in these walls of Time;
Some with massive deeds and great,
Some with ornaments of rhyme.

Nothing useless is, or low;
Each thing in its place is best;
And what seems but idle show
Strengthens and supports the rest.

For the structure that we raise,
Time is with materials filled;
Our to-days and yesterdays
Are the blocks with which we build.

Truly shape and fashion these;
Leave no yawning gaps between;
Think not, because no man sees,
Such things will remain unseen.

In the elder days of Art,
Builders wrought with greatest care
Each minute and unseen part;
For the Gods see everywhere.

Let us do our work as well,
Both the unseen and the seen;
Make the house, where Gods may dwell,
Beautiful, entire, and clean.

Else our lives are incomplete,
Standing in these walls of Time,
Broken stairways, where the feet
Stumble as they seek to climb.

Build to-day, then, strong and sure,
With a firm and ample base;
And ascending and secure
Shall to-morrow find its place.

Thus alone can we attain
To those turrets, where the eye
Sees the world as one vast plain,
And one boundless reach of sky.


(L to R) New York Governor David Patterson, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Dr Jill Biden, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie are relected in the reflecting pool at Ground Zero during the annual memorial service for September 11, 2010 in New York City. People gathered at the World Trade Center site to mark the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people on September 11, 2001. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images North America)


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West Wing Week ~ Dispatches from Iraq ~ August 20 – August 26, 2010

Posted by: Audiegrl

Vice President Joe Biden shakes hands after addressing the 111th Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. August 23, 2010. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that’s happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, watch a sneak preview of next Friday’s “Dispatches from Iraq” and join our brave men and women, both troops and civilians, on the ground in Iraq as combat operations end. Go behind the scenes with Provisional Reconstruction Teams, train with the Iraqi Federal Police, learn how millions of tons of equipment gets redeployed or sent home and much more.

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Welcoming our Troops Coming Home from Iraq

Posted by: Audiegrl

U.S. Army soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division race toward the border from Iraq into Kuwait Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010. The soldiers are part of the last combat brigade to leave Iraq as part of the drawdown of U.S. forces. (AP Photo/ Maya Alleruzzo)

Good afternoon,

Shortly after taking office, I put forward a plan to end the war in Iraq responsibly. Today, I’m pleased to report that — thanks to the extraordinary service of our troops and civilians in Iraq — our combat mission will end this month, and we will complete a substantial drawdown of our troops.

Over the last 18 months, over 90,000 U.S. troops have left Iraq. By the end of this month, 50,000 troops will be serving in Iraq. As Iraqi Security Forces take responsibility for securing their country, our troops will move to an advise-and-assist  role. And, consistent with our agreement with the Iraqi government, all of our troops will be out of Iraq by the end of next year. Meanwhile, we will continue to build a strong partnership with the Iraqi people with an increased civilian commitment and diplomatic effort.

A few weeks ago, men and women from one of the most deployed brigades in the U.S. Army, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, returned home from Iraq. The Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden were at Fort Drum to welcome the veterans home and spoke about their personal experiences as a military family:

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Our commitment to our troops doesn’t end once they come home — it’s only the beginning.  Part of ending a war responsibly is meeting our responsibility to the men and women who have fought it. Our troops and their families have made tremendous sacrifices to keep our nation safe and secure, and as a nation we have a moral obligation to serve our veterans as well as they have served us.

That’s why we’re building a 21st century Department of Veterans Affairs.  We’ve made one of the largest percentage increase in the VA’s budget in 30 years, and we’re dramatically increasing funding for veterans’ health across the board. In particular, we’re delivering unprecedented resources to treat signature wounds of today’s wars—Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Our sacred trust to take care of our veterans goes beyond simply healing the wounds incurred in battle. We must ensure that when our veterans leave the Armed Forces, they have the opportunities they need to further their education and support their families.  Through the Post-9/11 GI Bill, some 300,000 veterans and families members have pursued a college degree.  Others are taking advantage of job training and placement programs.

My Administration will continue to do our part to support the brave men and women in uniform that have sacrificed so much.  But supporting our troops and their families is not just the job of the Federal Government; it’s the responsibility of all Americans.

As we mark this milestone in the Iraq war and our troops continue to move out of Iraq, I hope you’ll join me in thanking them, and all of our troops and military families, for their service.

Sincerely,
President Barack Obama

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Celebrating Independence Day at the White House and in Iraq

Posted by: Audiegrl

Today, President Obama and First Lady Michelle hosted more than 1,200 military heroes and their families for an Independence Day celebration on the South Lawn of the White House. The “Salute to the Military” USO Concert included performances by The Killers, Cedric “The Entertainer,” and Brandi Carlile, and “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band. The evening wraped up with a viewing of the fireworks on the National Mall.

In case you missed it, watch First Lady Michelle Obama’s video message about supporting our military families on Independence Day.

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Celebrating the Fourth of July with Our Troops in Iraq
Written by Dr. Jill Biden

Vice President Joe Biden, center, congratulates a soldier on becoming a U.S. citizen during a naturalization ceremony in Al Faw Palace on Camp Victory, Iraq. Biden's wife, Dr. Jill Biden, and Army Gen. Raymond Odierno, left, commander of U.S. Forces Iraq, also attended the event during which more than 150 U.S. servicemembers became U.S. citizens. July 4, 2010. (by Elaine Wilson)

Last night, my husband Joe and I flew to Iraq to celebrate the Fourth of July with our troops. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Independence Day than spending it with Americans who are bravely serving our country.

This morning we participated in a naturalization ceremony for about 150 of our soldiers serving here in Iraq. I was honored to be part of this special day with so many brave men and women who have been volunteering to fight for our country even before they took the oath of citizenship.

U.S. troops take the citizenship oath during a naturalization ceremony in Al Faw Palace on Camp Victory, Iraq. More than 150 servicemembers became citizens in a ceremony attended by Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden. July 4, 2010. (by Elaine Wilson)

Afterwards, I had lunch with several women soldiers who told me about their experiences serving in Iraq. Many of them are mothers, and one of them is married to a soldier who is also deployed. They are managing all the challenges of parenting – securing health care, child care and education – while one or both parents are away.

It’s not easy to be away from loved ones – especially over the holidays. So please, take a minute today and give thanks to our military families serving this Nation around the world.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July, and may God protect our troops.

Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, shares lunch with female soldiers at the Oasis Dining Facility on Camp Victory, Iraq. Biden spoke with the soldiers about their family-related issues and concerns. July 4, 2010. (by Elaine Wilson)

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Fireworks begin as The Killers play on the South Lawn of the White House during the Fourth of July celebration. July 4, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle watch the fireworks over the National Mall from the roof of the White House. July 4, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Vice-President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden Attend the Sesame Workshop’s 8th Annual Benefit Gala

Posted by: Audiegrl

Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden attend Sesame Workshop's 8th Annual Benefit Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on June 2, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images North America)

The muppets weren’t the only ones at last night’s Sesame Workshop’s 8th Annual Benefit Gala–the Bidens found their way to the fete, too! Jill and Joe conversed with some of our favorite furry friends. Both were dressed properly for the occasion–Jill in Grover blue dress and Joe in a tie tinted Rosita cyan. 😉

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President Obama and First Lady Michelle Host Celebration for Jewish American Heritage Month

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle, and Vice President Joseph Biden watch performance during a reception in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month May 27, 2010 in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images North America)


President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle held on Thursday afternoon a reception at the White House in honor of the Jewish American Heritage Month in front of a distinguished group conformed by senators, representatives, entrepreneurs, Olympic athletes and former Major League pitcher Sandy Koufax, the White House said.

The diversity of talents and accomplishments represented in this room underscores the vast contributions that Jewish Americans have made to this country. Even before we were a nation, we were a sanctuary for Jews seeking to live without the specter of violence or exile,” Obama said in his speech.

Remarks by the President at Reception in Honor of Jewish American Heritage Month

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