By Elaine Sanchez
American Forces Press Service
6/16/2011 – WASHINGTON (AFNS) — With Father’s Day nearly at hand, President Barack Obama took time to single out military dads yesterday, thanking them for their service to the nation.
“Thank you for your dedication,” he told the dads gathered for a special screening of the Disney-Pixar movie “Cars 2” on the White House complex. “And when I say thank you, it’s not just to those in uniform; it’s to the families as well who are also serving.
“We could not be more proud of you,” he added, “and we are grateful because you help not only to keep us secure, but also keep us free.”
The movie screening marked the start of a summer-long partnership between First Lady Michelle Obama’s Joining Forces military support campaign and the Walt Disney Co.
Disney will host movie screenings at military bases across the country, President Obama said.
“This partnership with Disney will give an opportunity for military families to spend some time together, have fun, and provide a brief respite from all the incredible responsibilities you guys carry out,” he said.
The president wished the dads an early happy Father’s Day.
“For the families, please know that we understand that you’re serving right alongside anybody in uniform, and that’s why the first lady and Dr. Jill Biden have made such a big priority on military families,” he said. “This is just one small way that we can say ‘thank you’ to all of you.”
The bottom line is, the president told them, “We’re proud of you. We are grateful to you.”
President Obama also used the opportunity to stress the importance of fatherhood, and announced the launch of “Year of Strong Fathers and Strong Families,” an initiative to help connect dads with their kids in “simple, meaningful” ways, such as bowling or trips to the zoo.
People can find out more and search for activity discounts at Fatherhood.gov, he said.