National Guard Bureau – By Army Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy
WASHINGTON, Dec. 2, 2010 – To kick off the holiday season, Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, welcomed children with parents serving in the National Guard as well as children from local schools to the official residence of the vice president yesterday to make holiday ornaments, decorate cookies and write letters to servicemembers overseas.
“One of the things I love about being the wife of the vice president is getting to welcome people to our home,” said Biden, adding that school children also visited last year. “This year, I wanted to welcome school children to come back and be our very first holiday guests.”
As Biden talked with the children — many of whom have parents who have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan — she spoke of her own experience as the mother of a deployed National Guard soldier. She showed the children a framed picture of her son, Army Capt. Beau Biden, who served in Iraq as a military lawyer with the Delaware Army National Guard’s 261st Signal Brigade.
“I know how hard it was for us as a family to have our son away,” Dr. Biden said. “So I know how it feels to have your mom or dad away.”
After a caroling session, Santa Claus made his entrance and posed for some pictures with Dr. Biden and the children.
“I found out yesterday that I’d get two treats: one, I get to go to the vice president’s house, and two, I get to skip school,” said Kate Roberts, daughter of Air National Guard Lt. Col. Andrew Roberts and his wife, Debbie. “This is really cool.”
Ethan McDonald, son of Army National Guard Master Sgt. Marty McDonald and wife, Trish, said decorating cards for servicemembers was the highlight of the day for him. “I couldn’t wish any more than your safe return,” he wrote in his card.
Also at in the event were Shelia Casey, wife of Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr., Army chief of staff, and Cheryl McKinley, wife of Air Force Gen. Craig R. McKinley, chief of the National Guard Bureau.
Cheryl McKinley spoke to the children about the role the Guard plays both at home and while deployed, focusing not only on the federal warfighting mission, but also on its response to natural disasters here at home.
She stressed the importance of what the children’s parents do in the Guard, but also thanked the children for the sacrifices that they have made.
“You’re giving your service too,” she said. “Sometimes, that takes a lot of courage.”