Remarks by First Lady Jill Biden at a White House Barbeque with the Military

For Independence Day, First Lady Jill Biden addressed the military service members and their families by prepared delivery on the White House South Lawn. Biden expressed her gratitude for the military’s service and opened up about her familial experience in the military. Her remarks go as follows:

Reverend Lee, the President and I are so grateful for your ministry, your love, and your support. Rob, thank you for joining us today and for your special blessing.

Joining Forces, my White House initiative that supports military and veteran families, caregivers, and survivors is only possible because of amazing organizations like the USO. And, this BBQ is an example of the work we do together to support our military and their families. Thank you.

Welcome to the White House and happy Fourth of July!

When I was a little girl, a photo of my dad in a uniform always caught my eye when I visited my grandmom’s house. We didn’t really speak about it, but its very placement made it stand out. As I grew older, I learned the story.

At 17-years-old, my father, decided that he wanted to fight in World War II.

But he was too young to enlist and had to get my grandmom’s permission. She was terrified to send her teenaged son to war, but ultimately, she signed the papers. It was a hard choice—but one they made because they loved each other and our country.

Service is often about those hard choices—the ones servicemembers make, and the ones their families do too.

I only truly understood that choice when our son, Beau, joined the Delaware Army National Guard and went to war for a year in Iraq.

All of you have made that same choice—to serve our country.

You’re the brave and the bold—who step forward for all of us.

You’re the spouses who always cheer twice as loud at soccer tournaments and hug twice as hard at birthdays to try and fill that empty space beside you.

You’re the military kids who save up all your stories to share during that one, precious video call.

Today’s fireworks displays and barbeques—these celebrations of our freedoms, our democracy—are only possible because of your service and sacrifice.

As a military mom, grandmom, and the daughter of a veteran, I want to let you know how much you all mean to me—and to your Commander-in-Chief.

We love you and are so proud of you.

Now, please help me welcome, Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin.