BETHESDA, Md. â€” The first ladies of the United States and the U.S. military helped to observe Easter and the Month of the Military Child by visiting children and their families at a Fisher House on the campus of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on April 4.
The Fisher House Foundation donates homes built on the grounds of major military and Veterans Affairs Department medical centers. The homes give family members a comfortable place to stay to be close to a loved one during hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease or injury.
Bearing treats for everyone in the group, First Lady Michelle Obama walked into a flurry of childrenâ€™s Easter craft-making, greeted by a large sign in a rainbow of colors that said, â€œWelcome Mrs. Obama.â€ Deanie Dempsey, wife of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, also was on hand.
â€œIt is always one of my favorite things to come visit Fisher House,â€ Obama told the group of about 45 recovering service members, their spouses and children. â€œThis house is a home away from home to so many of our military families. The work they do here is amazing. Every single house that I have visited is just like this â€” the level of quality, the level of comfort, the staff is always amazing.â€
The first lady told the group that staying at the Fisher House while their service member is an inpatient or recovering at Walter Reed is something they deserve.
â€œOur military families, our troops â€” you all deserve this kind of high-level treatment for what you go through for this country, for what you sacrifice,â€ she said. â€œThis should be the kind of place that welcomes you in times like these. So we always are just thrilled to shine a light on the good work [of the Fisher House].â€
Obama said she came to the Fisher House to visit the families who are staying at house No. 4 at the medical center, but that she didnâ€™t come empty-handed. She brought White House-baked Easter cookies for everyone. As a second surprise, the first lady brought each family tickets for the 134th annual White House Easter Egg Roll, April 9.
â€œItâ€™s very exciting,â€ she said of the egg roll amid applause. â€œItâ€™s going to be so much fun. â€¦ Weâ€™ve got hula hooping, and weâ€™ve got tennis, and weâ€™ve got games. So come ready to play, OK?â€
Obama then revealed what she called the â€œmost important treatâ€ of her visit.
â€œI brought one of my best friends in the whole world, my only son,â€ she said. Then Bo, the Obamasâ€™ Portuguese water dog, emerged wearing bunny ears as the children squealed with delight.
â€œDo you guys want to see Bo?â€ she asked as she began making her way to each of five tables to visit with every child and family member in the room.
Every child gave the first lady a handmade Easter card, and she signed copies of Marc Brownâ€™s childrenâ€™s book, â€œArthur Meets the President.â€