For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
June 10, 2003
Mrs. Bush's Remarks at Senate Spouses Lunch
The White House
Welcome to the White House. I'm happy to see all of you and to celebrate our long traditions of friendship and service. Another tradition of this lunch is to provide a donation in support of a worthy cause. I'm pleased to tell you that this year's donation will be given in honor of the Senate Spouses to the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation. This foundation provides college academic scholarships for children of U.S. and coalition forces killed during the war in Iraq. Scholarships will also be provided for children who lost a parent during the September 11th attack on the Pentagon, and the Space Shuttle Colombia disaster.
I can't think of a better way to honor the lives of these brave Americans than to help fulfill their - and their children's dreams. When an Air Force officer was asked what he needed in Iraq, he said, "Please don't send cookies, care packages, or socks. Just help take care of our children." This donation will help to do that.
There are nearly one million military children. Thirty-five thousand have both their mom and dad in the military - while more than 80 thousand are children of single parents. And 800 thousand military children go to public and Department of Defense schools in your home states.
I recently delivered the commencement address at Fort Campbell High School in Kentucky. At this Department of Defense School, nearly 65 percent of the graduating students have a parent deployed.
I went in part to thank these students for the sacrifices they make as children of military families. Fort Campbell is the home of the 101st Airborne Division and many of these children's parents are Special Operations soldiers. Many children don't even know where their parents are stationed. They live every day with the fear that their parents might not come home.
And they spend their young lives moving from home to home and school to school. Transition and separation are part of their lives, and these children accept their duty with brave hearts.
President Bush and I want military children and every child to succeed in school and in life. We're glad to have the help of the Senate Spouses and I'm proud to make this donation in your honor. Thank you for all you've done in your home states to support our troops and our military families.
I'm pleased to announce that after dessert, The Washington Opera's Young Artists of the Americas will perform. Recently, I had the opportunity to hear several of these remarkable artists during a birthday lunch for Placido Domingo here at the White House. Placido has much to be proud of in these young singers. Thank you for being here and enjoy the performance.