Dr. Jill Biden Speaks Out About the Challenges Facing Military Families: 'We Will Care For Them'

In an essay penned for Parents, the first lady opened up about the challenges facing military families, an issue that's personal to the first family, as their late son, Beau, served in the Delaware Army National Guard

Jill Biden

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden is speaking out about the unique challenges faced by veteran caregivers and military families, writing in a new essay that they have "unparalleled resilience and grit," but still need help from the greater community.

"It's up to all of us to keep the promise we make to those who stand between our nation and danger: that we will care for them and their families while they serve and when their service is finished," Dr. Biden — who is continuing to teach while her husband is in the White House — writes in an essay penned for Parents.

Jill Biden

The essay coincides with the National Month of the Military Child, which Dr. Biden, 70, called "an opportunity to shine a light on the unique challenges that the children of our service members and veterans face."

Among the issues highlighted by the essay is the need to move frequently, which Dr. Biden noted can make attending school, enrolling in sports and making friends difficult for the children of military members.

"These hardships can be heartbreaking but are frequently unseen," she writes. "Military kids don't wear a uniform, so most of the time their peers and teachers have no idea what they are going through."

For the Biden family, it's an issue that's deeply personal: The president's late son, Beau, served in the Delaware Army National Guard, deploying to Iraq in 2008. He died from brain cancer at age 46 in 2015.

Jill Biden

As she writes in her essay for Parents, Biden's family understood firsthand the challenges that came with military life.

"When my son, Beau, deployed to Iraq for a year, I saw how difficult it could be, especially for his children, Natalie and little Hunter," she writes. "All of us felt torn at times between overwhelming pride for how he was serving our country and a very real fear of the worst."

Dr. Biden also uses the essay to expound upon the challenges faced by children and families of disabled vets, noting that "more than 2 million children live with a veteran who has a disability."

In closing her essay, Biden calls on the American people to reach out to the military families in their own community and offer to assist however they can: through mentorship, for example, or by including the families in neighborhood activities.

Jill Biden

"When Beau was deployed, we had the chance to meet other military moms or dads, people who had been in the same position," Biden writes. "It was like medicine for our hearts. They prayed with us and shared stories with us. They sent notes of hope and encouragement."

She continues: "We saw how much love, generosity, and kindness was in the military community, and we've felt grateful to be a part of it every day since. It shouldn't take knowing this experience firsthand to want to help."

Since coming to office as first lady and even prior to that, service-members and their families have been a focus for Dr. Biden. Shortly after her husband was sworn in, she made an unscheduled stop to thank members of the National Guard, who had assembled in Washington, D.C., to protect the inauguration.

As second lady, Dr. Biden worked with former First Lady Michelle Obama to launch Joining Forces, a nationwide initiative focusing on the "wellness, education, and employment opportunities" for service members, veterans, and their families.

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