I had the opportunity to attend the “Joining Forces” campaign spearheaded by the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden at Camp Lejeune. Joining Forces is a new national initiative that mobilizes all sectors of society (from neighbors to schools and businesses) to give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned.
I was a little leery going into it that this was basically a dog and pony show to get military family support for the Obama camp, but didn’t want to pass up an opportunity to see the First Lady. As we
crowded into a gym full of Marines and other family members and patiently waited more than 2.5 hours for the event to start, I contemplated if I was actually going to get more out of this than a few pictures of Michelle Obama.
Having a son in the service, Dr. Jill Biden was immediately able to make a connection with the crowd, understanding first hand how difficult it is when a loved one is deployed.
But Michelle Obama really surprised me. Having never experienced the emotional rollercoaster of deployment, she was able to relate to the crowd and sincerely articulate why this campaign is so important. Her passion for the campaign and for us present was truly evident.
In fact, there are already programs in motion that provided credibility for the campaign:
• The Chamber of Commerce will hold hiring fairs for veterans and military spouses in 100 communities over the next year.
• Indeed.com is launching Indeed Military, an online service to help military families find work.
• Best Buy’s Geek Squad will host seminars at 17 military installations on staying connected with deployed family members through technology.
• Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club will guarantee a job at a new location for existing employees who must move because a military spouse is transferred.
• The YMCA and other partners will provide free summer camp for thousands of military children and families in 35 states this summer.
• Educational groups will bring to high schools with a high percentage of military families more Advanced Placement classes and courses in science, technology, engineering and math.
Having been through 6 deployments myself, it became clear that this wasn’t just some smoke and mirrors campaign, but something tangible that hopefully military family members from around the country will experience some positive difference.
And what I loved best about it (as with any good marketing campaign), was there was a clear call to action. Support our military members and support their families. From a simple thank you to a military member or their family to organizing local appreciation events to getting businesses involved, everyone can do something.
You can learn more about the campaign at JoiningForces.gov.
Food is a symbol of survival and success alike. The Lord promised to bring the Israelites out of Egypt and into a land flowing with milk and honey. According to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Marie Antoinette upon hearing that the peasants had no bread, suggested they eat cake. And Herbert Hoover is credited for promising all Americans prosperity in the form of a chicken in every pot.
Food is in fact one of the four necessities of life, though in America we are not nearly as obsessed over air, shelter and water. No, for us, food is the elixir of life. When we are happy, we eat in celebration. When we are sad, we eat to forget our depression. When we are busy, we eat to fuel up. When we are bored we eat to fill the void. Food has become the answer to our every question. Food is our lexicon.
I love you so much I could eat you up. I eat punks like you for breakfast. They are going to eat you alive. Hey, what’s eating you? Bite me. Chew on this my friend. Do you smell what the Rock is cooking? Eat your heart out baby. If you’re right, I’ll eat my hat. Yeah, well eat my shorts. I’m so hungry I could eat a horse. I’m not surprised, cause you eat like a pig. You’re gonna eat those words. Well, I hate to eat and run…
Anyway, in light of the new USDA Dietary Guidelines released on Monday, I am thinking that maybe we (are you listening Michelle Obama?) have been going about this obesity thing the wrong way. In short, we’ve simply been sending the wrong message all this time.
Plato said that the enjoyment of food is not a true pleasure because the purpose of eating is to relieve pain – hunger. Perhaps we would do well to remember – or learn anew – that the true nature of food is simply to fill our gas tanks with fuel… too little limits your ability, while too much is simply wasted.
And since I have taken the liberty of quoting Plato, allow me the indulgence of quoting my father, who like most Americans was obsessed with food: “Jimmy my boy, do all things, but do them all in moderation.”