Michelle Obama’s 2012 Guest Column: Sharing the Stories of Military Families

Tim Gray
·2-min read

As a long-delayed sequel to Eleanor Roosevelt’s 1939 guest column, Variety invited First Lady Michelle Obama to write about showbiz. The item ran on the front page on Oct. 5, 2012, part of Variety’s annual Women’s Impact Report. Obama congratulated the honorees, adding that people in entertainment have used their “incredible reach and influence to make a real impact on so many different issues.”

One issue close to her heart: “Supporting and honoring our military families. … Make no mistake about it, when our men and women in uniform are called to serve, their families serve right alongside them.”
She and Jill Biden had launched Joining Forces to rally Americans “to recognize, honor and support our veterans and military families. And I am asking you, as a member of the entertainment community, to help share the story of these families.”

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It’s 180 degrees from Donald Trump mocking the parents of a soldier killed in Iraq or sneering at John McCain for being a prisoner of war.

In her piece, Obama said she’d worked with Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, among others, to create public service announcements and bring stories to the public through film, TV and digital media. Obama offered some thoughts that paralleled Roosevelt’s 1939 column.

“I am so grateful,” she wrote, “for everything the entertainment industry has already done, and I know we can do even more. That’s why I am asking you to use your creativity to share our military families’ stories. … Help all Americans to see and feel the challenges our brave military families face — and overcome — every single day.”

She concluded, “Together, we can all do our part to serve them as well as they and their loved ones have served this country.”

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