Friday, January 28, 2011

First Lady on Oprah for Military Families

Following Tuesday night's State of the Union Address, First Lady Michelle Obama appeared on Oprah yesterday to support military families, to whom Oprah dedicated her entire day's broadcast.
"We're going to ask the country to get ourselves together and be a part of reconnecting these families to the broader community," Michelle Obama told Oprah and her millions of followers, including a studio audience that leapt to its feet (some began hugging one another) when the first lady came on stage.

"All right - calm yourselves," Oprah told her audience.

"How many of you watching can name a soldier who's fighting in the war?" Oprah asked her followers at the top of Thursday's show, which was taped days earlier. "I can honestly say I cannot."

"A few months back, Tom Brokaw called me up with a show idea. . . . He was very blunt, as matter of fact," Oprah continued.

Brokaw told her that "if you don't know someone who's fighting on the front lines right now, or a family in town that has one of their own serving, then you don't care about the war of the men and women fighting it," she continued.

Then Brokaw came out to deliver the message that less than 1 percent of the population is "bearing 100 percent of the burden of battle," which includes leaving behind their families for two and three tours at a time while "nothing else is asked of the rest of us."

"It's not just unjust - in a way, it's immoral," Brokaw said.

Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward then came out, calling the situation an "epidemic of disconnection" in the country.

"There are things as a nation we can do big and small. And it's not a difficult thing to do," Obama said.

Carmen Blackmore and her husband, Clifford Blackmore, an U.S. Army warrant officer, appeared with the first lady, who called Carmen Blackmore one of her heroes.

"Because, in addition to taking care of business in her own house, she's incredibly involved in the family readiness group, which means she's helping other families adjust," Obama said.

The first lady told Oprah about the military families she has met and the stories she has heard about multiple deployments, missed birthdays and children asking when a parent would be coming home.

"Let me tell you, their stories took my breath away," Obama said.
OYE Comment:

We thank Oprah Winfrey for hosting the First Lady to call attention to the need for all Americans to support our military families, and for all Americans to ask themselves whether they at least have tried to support those in harm's way.

Tom Brokaw's comment focuses very well on the key issue: If most Americans personally knew someone wearing the uniform, especially enlisted servicemembers and junior officers, our country would be a better place.

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