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Mrs. Obama, Dr. Biden praise military children

By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, (4/12/10) - The wives of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden paid tribute to military children, honoring their strength and sacrifice, in a Month of the Military Child video message posted on the White House Web site.

"As a grateful nation, it is our sacred responsibility to stand by our military children, just as they and their families stand by us," First Lady Michelle Obama said.

From improving their schools to strengthening their communities to supporting their parents and guardians, she added, "President Obama is committed to ensuring that this administration does everything it can to support our military children."

These "extraordinary" children shoulder responsibilities far beyond their years, Dr. Jill Biden noted.

"During this time of war, they may have one or even both parents deployed overseas and standing in harm's way," she said. "They may even have to care for a parent who is wounded or, in the most painful situations, be called to keep alive the memory of a fallen hero whom they called Mom or Dad."

Biden encouraged Americans to recognize and support military children, whether it's reaching out to a new military family in the neighborhood or connecting with an organization dedicated to supporting troops and their families.

"As a mother of a National Guardsman, I have seen firsthand the difference that a small act of kindness can make," she said. "There's a role for each and every one of us in supporting military children."

"Let's mark the Month of the Military Child this year by dedicating ourselves to honoring and supporting these brave children all year long," Obama added.

When he's not serving with the Guard, Byer provides technical support at Microsoft in Fargo.

"It's kind of nice to know that he'd come out to see what we're doing, check on me," Byer said about the general's visit.

Sprynczynatyk was pleased with what he found.

"As I walk about and talk to our Soldiers and Airmen, I sense the pride in each and every one of them," he said.

While the main focus of Guard efforts in Fargo today remains sandbagging, the mission is expected to grow on Wednesday to incorporate building HESCO barriers to hold back the rising floodwaters.

On Thursday, the Guard anticipates staging quick reaction forces, or QRFs, that will use various engineer equipment to respond where needed.

While the Guard's largest effort is here, Guardsmen also are working in Ransom and Richland counties, Jamestown and are closely monitoring the situation in other communities where flooding appears imminent.

Elsewhere around the country, six Nebraska National Guardsmen are providing liaison support to the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency. South Dakota has mobilized 18 Army Guard members to preposition equipment for possible flood operations, and about 27 members of the West Virginia continue to help with clean-up after flooding there last weekend.