Pictures of Ross children provided by: Tricia Ross
On Saturday night hundreds of military families and guest joined hosts Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden along with the Obama girls and Biden grandchildren for a rocking night to celebrate the 57th Presidential Inauguration and recognize the sacrifices of our nation’s military children.
Early last week just after the star studded line up was announced for the Second Kids Inaugural Concert, our family learned that we would be attending the concert! My husband and I managed to keep it a secret for a few days until our four children started making plans with their friends for the long weekend. I told our oldest daughter first, the simple mention of Usher and Katie Perry had her screaming for more details, our two middle children seemed a little overwhelmed by the simple fact that they were going to a concert. Our four year old had the best reaction “We are going to see Mrs. Obama, and Katie Perry? What am I going to wear? I didn’t know they were friends!!”
The afternoon before the big event, we started getting ready in the hotel. Everyone was decked out in red, white and blue, and my husband was in uniform. Excitement was in the air and we still had a few hours to go!! We headed to the event with another military family, whose girls were giddy with excitement… they were already texting, tweeting and face booking! When we got to the event we were lucky enough to share a row with some other great military families that we know from Virginia and North Carolina.
The evening started with the Pledge of Allegiance, led by military kids that were flown in from Naval Air Station Sigonella. Military children and families from Fort Hood, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Camp Pendleton, and Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater also joined the event via satellite and received a shout out from First Lady, Michelle Obama.
Dr. Biden took the stage to talk about the strength and service of our military families and her commitment to them and the Joining Forces Initiative. She went on to discuss her personal experiences as a military mom. She then gave very special welcome to children and families of the Delaware Army National Guard 153rd Military Police Company, acknowledging that she was just with many of them a few weeks ago when they said goodbye to their moms and dads as they deployed to Afghanistan.
Music artists on hand ranged from pop stars like Katy Perry and Usher, to the Presidential favorite Soul Children of Chicago who accompanied Black Violin for a rendition of The Beatles “Come Together”. Nick Cannon from America’s Got Talent served as emcee, and winner of Dancing with the Stars and military hero J.R. Martinez was on hand to assist him and offer his thanks to our military children.
Video messages from stars such as Ryan Seacrest, Kerry Washington, David Letterman and Ellen DeGeneres were sprinkled throughout the show offering words of gratitude to our military children. Even the youngest military guests were recognized with messages from the cast of Yo Gabba Gabba and Rosita from Sesame Street.
Before Katy Perry took the stage for the final performance of the evening Mrs. Obama spoke from the heart about being a military kid. She said that being a military kid “means always thinking about things that are so much bigger than yourself. It means growing up so much faster … by supporting your families you all are helping us protect our country and keep all of us safe.”
She continued on, stressing the important role that military children play in today’s mission saying, “You all are an important part of the greatest military on Earth. By supporting your families, you all are helping to protect this country and keep every single one of us safe. You’re doing that. And Dr. Biden and I are so incredibly proud of you all. Every day, we’re proud of you. Let me tell you, our husbands are proud — the Vice President, the President — they are proud of you.”
After the concert, when asked who her favorite performer was, I was surprised to hear my 11 year old say, “Soul Children and Black Violins!” They were a personal favorite of mine, but hey I am a thirty-something mother of four! My nine year old was simply awestruck at all the famous people who sent words of thanks to military kids and families, and our two younger ones were just amazed!
For our family this was not only a great experience but a great way for our children to be involved in the Inauguration Festivities, and feel a part of American history. My kids can’t wait to go to go back to school on Tuesday and tell all their friends about the concert. They are proud to be military kids who were lucky enough to have taken part in a Presidential Inauguration event. It was a night my children will never forget and a great night to be a military kid!