FT. LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (KMOX) – Students at Thayer Elementary School at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri had some special guests to read to them Tuesday. First Lady Michelle Obama, Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden, Astronaut Mike Kelly and actor LeVar Burton of the Reading Rainbow paid a visit. The First Lady read from Burton’s book, ” The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm.”
After First Lady Michelle Obama finished reading they took questions from the students. One student asked if rhinos can really swallow storms.
Burton said “no” but explained that he chose the rhino because they are one of the strongest animals on the planet and said, “If a rhino can be taken down by the storm of his emotions inside, then all of us can use a little help sometimes.”
Another question from a little girl in the back of the gymnasium was, “Where Do Mice Live?” Everyone laughed and First Lady Michelle Obama said, “Mice live in many places. They are small and they live anywhere it’s dark and cozy.”
Burton told the 270 kids seated on the floor that most mice are happy in fields, but sometimes like to come inside and live in homes. The First Lady added, “They have to be where there’s some food. So if you don’t want mice in your house, pick up the food.” A student named Grace asked, “What’s it like to live in the White house.” Obama responded, “It’s a lot of fun, but it’s like living in a museum if you can imagine that. You go up one floor and it’s our home and that’s like a regular home.” She said, “You weren’t alive to remember but when we first moved into the White House, our kids were in the 2nd and 5th grade so we wanted to make sure it felt like a real home and not like a museum. So they have their own rooms, a place to play, friends over and a kitchen and dining room.” No matter what is going on downstairs she said, “We just come up the elevator and we open the door to our home. There’s a lot of love and there’s discipline, there are rules, people have to make their beds, brush their teeth and do their homework and read a lot and listen to their parents, just like at your house. So, the White House in the end isn’t all that exciting.”
Before they left, the First Lady asked the students, “Do you know why we decided to come here?” Nearly everyone responded, “Why?” “Because we are so proud of you and your families.” Obama, Dr. Biden and Burton were there to celebrate the fifth year of their Joining Forces initiative – which encourages people to rally around military service members and their families through education, employment and wellness.
“A lot of people don’t realize what military families go through,” Obama said, “They don’t know there are husbands and wives and great kids who miss their parents when they are deployed…who feel bad when they have to move schools every couple of years, who get lonely, who deal with things that make you guys heroes to us. And we want the world to know about you all, how brave you are, how courageous, how much you sacrifice. The President, the Vice President, First Lady and the Second Lady, we are so proud of you. We’re proud of every inch of you and we wanted to come celebrate you.”
Her parting advice was to work hard in school, be proud of who you are and what you’re doing even when it’s hard.
“We couldn’t do what we do in this country without you and we’re proud of your teachers too,” Obama says.
Obama and Biden then spent time watching soldiers during training exercises.
See the video below:
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