First Lady Michelle Obama invited military families to the White House on November 30 to reveal the theme of this year’s holiday decorations and to give them a tour as well. The theme this year?
Share, Give, Shine.
Appearing with Jennifer Jackman of American Gold Star Mothers, an organization for mothers who have lost a son or daughter who was serving in the military, Mrs. Obama addressed the gathering and explained why the theme was chosen.
“I have spoken with so many military spouses who are raising their kids alone while their loved one is stationed overseas for months at a time,” said Mrs. Obama. “I have heard from so many wonderful military children who pick up extra chores, and just step up and keep their grades going while mom or dad is away. And I’ve been inspired by the survivors of our fallen who keep giving back to the community day after day.
But I also know that not every American hears these stories. Not every American knows what a Blue Star family is, or a Gold Star family is. We don’t all understand what it’s like to be in a military family. And that’s one of the reasons why Jill [Biden]and I started our Joining Forces initiative, because we wanted to rally all Americans to honor, recognize, and support our military families. We wanted to make sure that never again would someone have to ask the question, what is a Gold Star family, and what does that sacrifice mean? We all should know.”
And that’s why, she goes on to point out, they have found creative ways to pay tribute to these families in the holiday decorations.
“As visitors enter, they’ll have the opportunity to send handwritten notes to our troops stationed all around the world. They’ll also see the Gold Star tree, which Jennifer and several other families helped to create, which honors our nation’s Gold Star families whose loved ones have made the greatest of sacrifices for our country. The tree is decorated with beautiful, special ornaments, each of which has a space for Gold Star families who visit here to write their loved one’s name and to hang it on the tree.”
SPECIAL NOTE / “Gold Star” families are any member of the immediate family of a person who died in a combat zone while a member of any branch of the armed forces. “Blue Star” families are any member of the immediate family of a person currently serving in the military.
Another special tree is the one in the Blue Room, Mrs. Obama refers to it as “the big tree” and the “official White House Christmas tree.” It’s been decorated with cards and messages collected from military kids.
Mrs. Obama finished the preview by thanking everyone who helped to make the decorations a success, including volunteers, the creative artists who participated and gave advice, the organizers of the White House holiday celebration, and the Gold Star families, the troops, veterans, and “all of our military families, whose service and sacrifice inspires us all.”
Bravo to Mrs. Obama for continuing to keep the sacrifices of the military and its families in the nation’s thoughts and prayers.
BO STEALS THE SHOW / The “First Dog” has a way of stealing the show. And don’t we all love it! This year, the Obama family pet is once again featured in a prominent way in the holiday decorations. See how the famous Portuguese Water Dog has worked his way into this year’s Christmas decorations.