BETHESDA, Md., March 20, 2013 – Bearing a large Easter basket brimming with cookies, First Lady Michelle Obama visited seven families of recuperating service members at Fisher House No. 4 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center here today.
As part of her Joining Forces initiative — a national movement for all sectors of society to support and honor America’s service members and their families that’s co-sponsored by Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden — today was the first lady’s second Easter celebration at one of Walter Reed’s Fisher Houses. She spent time with each family at tables decorated in the children’s Easter art.
Bo, the first family’s dog, was at her side, bringing squeals of delight from the children, who were eager to pet him. “Bo is a sweetheart, but he’s big,” Obama told the group. “Bigger than some kids realize. He’s really a big baby. He can do tricks if he’s paying attention.”
Though this was her second Fisher House visit herearound the Easter holiday, the first lady said, it’s not her second time at a Fisher House.
“[Fisher Houses], as you all know, are just so important to families who are recuperating,” she said. “As you can see, the houses are beautiful. And all around the country, they are as beautiful, welcoming and comforting as you guys are experiencing here.”
The Fisher House Foundation donates homes built on the grounds of major U.S. military and Veterans Affairs Department medical centers. The homes give family members a comfortable place to stay close to their loved ones during hospitalizations for unexpected illnesses, diseases or injuries.
“We are so supportive of all the efforts that the Fisher Houses do, and we’re grateful to the Fisher family,” the first lady said. “So, I like to come and hang out, and to bring cookies. Anybody like cookies here? I’m not sure if we have any cookie fans.” Obama brought another surprise with her to the Easter event.
“We do this really cool thing at the White House around Easter every year,” she said. “Have you guys heard of the Easter Egg Roll? We do it in the backyard of the White House on the South Lawn, and there are thousands of people who come. We’ve got great entertainment, … athletes who come, … Easter bunnies, … face painting, bands playing, and lots of running right on the South Lawn. Does that sound fun?
“I brought tickets for all of you to come, … so, the Monday after Easter, you guys are invited to my house to hang out,” she said to the families who responded with enthusiastic “ooohs” and “ahhhhs.”
Obama spent about an hour greeting the families and asking the children about their Easter crafts and how they made them. She chatted with service members and military spouses under a handmade “Welcome, Mrs. Obama” sign made in crayon by the children.
Following her visit with the families at the Fisher House, the first lady visited wounded warriors hospitalized at the medical center on the Walter Reed campus.