On day 2 of the Democratic National Convention, I headed to the Veterans and Military Families Caucus meeting. I was eager to reconnect with people I’ve met over the last 4 years who have been dedicated to improving the lives of veterans and military families. What I found, and the sheer number of people I found, was overwhelming. In 2008, there were maybe 50 people in the room and I passed around a clipboard for everyone to sign up and we were struggling to get the media and the electorate to listen to the issues facing military families and veterans. In 2012, the room was packed – standing room only – and half of those attending were civilians who were eager to hear how they could help.
Follow the Twitter stream below to see how the Caucus meeting unfolded:
Two surprise guests dropped in for the caucus, Dr. Jill Biden and her son Beau Biden. It was wonderful to hear from our Blue Star Mom-in-Chief and Beau. They both understand the sacrifices this generation of military families are facing.
I bet she could do it in heels too.
Secretaries Hilda Solis and Eric Shinseki were present, from the Department of Labor and Veterans Affairs, respectively. Seeing two members of the cabinet at the caucus really signaled this administration’s commitment to veterans and military families over the last 4 years and for the years to come.
Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown from Maryland fired up the crowd and shared an anecdote about President Obama that I hadn’t heard before. Apparently the President and Brown, a veteran, met at Harvard Law School when President Obama came to a student veteran’s group meeting to hear about the group’s experiences.
Senator Klobuchar (D-MN) touched on the issue of rape in the military and the special challenges faced by homeless veterans in rural areas.
So many more people spoke about programs and services to help veterans and military families that it was impossible to tweet it all. But I came away moved by how far we’ve come in four years. Yes, we have a long way to go to ensure that veterans and military families get the help and support they need, particularly once the war is out of the public eye, but I’m more confident with President Obama at the helm.