First Lady, Chairman Welcome Military Kids to Movie Screening

Story by Erin Wittkop, Defense Media Activity

What do you get when you put the first lady, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Kermit the Frog in a room filled with military kids?

A whole lot of fun.

Photo: First Lady Michelle Obama and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, applaud Kermit the Frog as they welcome military families to a screening of Disney’s new movie, "Muppets Most Wanted," at the White House, March 12, 2014. The trio thanked military families for their service, strength and resiliency. (DoD photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Sean K. Harp/Released)

First Lady Michelle Obama and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, applaud Kermit the Frog as they welcome military families to a screening of Disney’s new movie, “Muppets Most Wanted,” at the White House, March 12, 2014. The trio thanked military families for their service, strength and resiliency. (DoD photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Sean K. Harp/Released)

Excitement and laughter filled the air of the White House in Washington, D.C., March 12, as first lady Michelle Obama and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, welcomed military families to a private screening of Disney’s “Muppets Most Wanted” movie.

The event was part of a Joining Forces initiative to show appreciation for military kids. This group of military kids are the first children in the country to see the movie before its March 21, release.

Army Gen. Martin E. Demspey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, opened the event.

“I’m really excited to be here with my wife, Deanie. We want you to know how much we love the children of our men and women who serve in uniform. You guys are terrific. We couldn’t do what we do without you. It’s really a great honor for me to be here today.”

Gen. Dempsey made sure the kids were alert and ready to watch the movie by regaling them with a few jokes. The audience matched his wit and assured him they were ready for the big event.

“You guys are all over it. You’re ready for the movie,” Dempsey told them before introducing Mrs. Obama as “someone very special” to military families.

Photo: First lady Michelle Obama talks as Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, looks on as they welcome military families to a screening of Disney’s new movie, "Muppets Most Wanted," at the White House, March 12, 2014. (DoD photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Sean K. Harp/Released)

First lady Michelle Obama talks as Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, looks on as they welcome military families to a screening of Disney’s new movie, “Muppets Most Wanted,” at the White House, March 12, 2014. (DoD photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Sean K. Harp/Released)

The crowd roared with applause as the first lady took the stage, smiling from ear to ear.

“Welcome to the White House,” she greeted them before complimenting Gen. Dempsey on his comedic prowess. “Gen. Dempsey, those were some pretty good jokes.”

After giving the chairman his due, she addressed the real reason everyone was gathered there: to celebrate military kids.

“I just wanted to take a moment to make sure you understand why we’re doing this, why it was so important for us to make it possible for you guys to see this movie here. Do you know why? Because we are incredibly proud of you.”

“I get to travel all around the country and I meet a lot of kids. And let me tell you, I am most impressed by our military kids, because I know you guys have a lot on your plates. When your parents are deployed, you have to be big boys and girls. You have to behave. You have to be strong and brave,” she said.

“I’m always impressed that you do all this, and you do it in a way that makes us proud. You guys are heroes. I want you to know that. We are so proud of you and we are blessed to have you have you on our team.”

Photo: Children pose for a photo with Kermit the Frog during an event to screen Disney’s new movie, "Muppets Most Wanted," at the White House, March 12, 2014. (DoD photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Sean K. Harp/Released)

Children pose for a photo with Kermit the Frog during an event to screen Disney’s new movie, “Muppets Most Wanted,” at the White House, March 12, 2014. (DoD photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Sean K. Harp/Released)

The children in the audience were glowing as they listened to Mrs. Obama’s words of praise and support. Their excitement amped up even more when the first lady mentioned that she had a surprise before the movie started.

A moment later, Kermit the Frog emerged on the stage and the audience erupted with applause.

He was there on behalf of the Muppets to let the kids know that they have support from their favorite celebrity puppets.

“It’s true that I’m here today because of all you kids. I always say it’s not easy being green, and that sometimes it’s not easy for you guys — for your moms and dads who wear a green uniform or a blue one or a white one. But you guys have to be just as tough as them, you know? We understand what that means. You are all amazing.”

Without further ado, Mrs. Obama, Gen. Dempsey and Kermit the Frog thanked the kids, and their parents, one last time and cued the movie as the audience settled in for their exclusive, and much-deserved, screening of “Muppets Most Wanted”.

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