First lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, Vice President Joe Biden's wife, on Monday welcomed to the White House mothers with ties to the military. The annual Mother's Day Tea was part of their Joining Forces initiative, which is focused on bolstering support for military families.
"We have an extraordinary group here today," Obama said to the mothers present in the East Room of the White House. "Moms who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, military partners who have moved across the country again and again, grandmothers... We have some really phenomenal representation of what mothering can mean."
She added, "As military moms, you're doing so much not just for your families but you're doing so much for your community and the country."
Biden said she feels a "special bond" with other military moms because her son Beau Biden, the Delaware attorney general, serves in the Delaware Army National Guard and was deployed to Iraq for a year.
"Having Beau overseas was tough," she said, "but there were a lot of people who stepped up in different ways to support our family that year... Having a community share the burden makes all the difference in the world."
Obama also recognized her own mother, Marian Robinson, who was in attendance. "She's been that shoulder for me to lean on," Obama said.
The attendees listened to a musical performance by Norah Jones, while Obama and Biden helped military kids create Mother's Day cards and gifts.
In another Joining Forces event, the first lady on Saturday met with about a dozen military and veteran spouses in New Orleans.
"These kind of gatherings, these small groups are so helpful for me -- as well as Jill Biden, who is my partner in Joining Forces -- because we're all up in Washington doing a lot of interesting things hoping that what we're doing is impacting you all on the ground," she told the spouses ahead of their private conversation. "But we don't really know until we hear from you."