There's only one way to describe a week spent in D.C. witnessing military spouses and families getting great opportunities and doing fun things: inspiring.
The first week of May in D.C. each year is spent celebrating military spouses with the Military Spouse of the Year awards, the town hall that accompanies it and, if you're really lucky, maybe a trip to the White House. More importantly, however, it is spent surrounded by incredible spouses who travel in for the festivities.
This year, however, the week corresponded with a pair of important dates -- the 5th anniversary of Joining Forces, the administration's military support program and the USO's 75th birthday.
To celebrate those, the White House and the USO teamed up to host a comedy night at Joint Base Andrews with Jon Stewart and David Letterman, and a big veteran and spouse jobs announcement in the White House itself. Better yet, they made sure that military spouse bloggers organized by NextGen MilSpouse (including SpouseBuzz!) got to be present for all of the events.
It was incredible.
You've read a lot of criticism of Joining Forces here on SpouseBuzz over the last five years. And I still have questions about the hiring initiatives, including whether or not there's any way to make sure these companies really are hiring vets and spouses.
But I have to say: seeing first hand the dedication and excitement these company leaders had about being involved in vet and spouse hiring was impressive. And witnessing officials' dedication to supporting veterans and spouses by not just hosting these events, but also by showing up at the USO event on Andrews, was pretty exciting.
The best part of the events, however, was the inclusion of military spouse bloggers and influencers. These are totally normal military spouses who have been writing about military life or who were included in the Military Spouse of the Year awards. Not only did they attend the USO birthday event as guests of the White House, they were able to stand in the room with the First Lady to witness the jobs announcement.
If you have doubt that this administration supports veterans and spouses -- and often I am a critic -- you can know this: at those events I felt the support. Here's hoping it sticks around for the next President, whoever he or she might be.