The missions of the First Couple melded
on Tuesday, with First Lady Michelle Obama
praising employees at the Department
of Veterans Affairs for helping
the nation's military.
Just a short while later, President Obama
honored a regiment of soldiers for their
heroism during the Vietnam War,
saying their bravery inspired
all Americans during this time of war.
their life insurers,'' Mrs. Obama told
the employees at the veterans agency.
"And you're the key to educational
opportunity for many of them.
You help them buy homes, which is really
truly the very claim to the dream
that they defend.
And while you do all that, you're working
to transform this very system to be
the 21st century organization that's worthy
of today's veterans and
the veterans of tomorrow.
So I wanted to say thank you for all of that.''
It was Mrs. Obama's 12th visit to
a federal agency this year and
an opportunity to focus on the military
and military families, one of her priorities.
(Last week, Mrs. Obama visited soldiers
and their families at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.)
In both visits, she made a point
of touting her husband's efforts
to support the military, military families and veterans.
Mrs. Obama said that the Obama administration
is expanding health care coverage
to an additional 500,000 veterans,
increasing the number of mobile
health clinics and expanding access
to care in rural areas.
She said officials are increasingly
focused on post-traumatic stress
and traumatic brain injuries,
which she described as "the new care
required for today's wars."
She said the budget includes the biggest
single-year percentage increase
in financing in three decades.
And she noted that the president
will sign into law the Veterans
Health Care Budget Reform
and Transparency Act on Thursday.
"This legislation guarantees a timely
and predictable flow of funding
for VA medical care because
that's what's required to guarantee
better care to the men
and women who serve this country,''
Mrs. Obama said."After all, our veterans' unwavering
belief in this country is what inspired them
to serve in the first place; they deserve
our unwavering support in return,''
the first lady said. "They deserve
the care that they were promised
and they deserve the benefits that they earned.''
Sent from Kigali, Rwanda