As part of my weekend in Washington, D.C., covering Inaugural events, I got the opportunity to attend the Kids’ Inaugural Concert at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, hosted the concert for military children and families. The show was also live-streamed on line to military families around the world. With Usher, Far East Movement, Mindless Behavior, Illuminate, the cast of Glee and Katy Perry scheduled to perform, I was thrilled to be in attendance.
On Friday, during my visit to the White House, Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden told me that they were also looking forward to the performances. They emphasized the importance of the concert’s theme, “Our Children, Our Future.” “Between all the celebration and high energy, there’s a little message that we’re trying to get out,” the First Lady told me. “All the while when people are rocking out, we can also be thinking about, “How can I help? What can I do?”
During our roundtable discussion and at the concert, Mrs. Obama pointed out the challenges that military families face. For example, the average military child can attend between six and nine schools by the end of high school, always having to be the “new kid.” At the concert, she also said that being a military kid meant “growing up a little faster and working just a little bit harder than other kids” because, when a parent military member is away, children often have bigger roles to play in the family, like taking out the trash for dad or helping mom out with younger brothers and sisters.
In support of military families, the First Lady and Second Lady gave them a concert they’d never forget. The crowd erupted with cheers when emcee Nick Cannon introduced Usher, who kicked off the concert singing “Yeah!,” “Without You” and “OMG.” In between the musical acts, the cheer squad from the Washington Wizards basketball team pumped up the crowd with dance routines and t-shirt tosses, and mascots from the Washington Nationals baseball team, dressed like former presidents—including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt—raced around the arena. There were also video messages supporting the troops and their families from many celebrities.
Next to me at the concert was Emmy Award-winning actress Lynn Whitfield, who was dancing and enjoying the show. She told me that it’s important to “know what’s going on in military families” so that we understand their needs and can choose the best ways to help them. The most excited fans, however, were those like Jasline Davis, 10, from North Carolina, who was looking forward to seeing Katy Perry. When Perry came out to close the show with “Part of Me,” “Wide Awake,” Teenage Dream” and “Firework,” Jasline was bouncing on her seat. Still, she told me that the best part for her was that her dad, who serves in the Marines, was home from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune to join her.
TFK Kid Reporter Bridget Bernardo was in Washington, D.C. for President Obama’s second Inauguration. Click here to read her report on her visit to the White House. Click here to read her report on the National Day of Service. Click here to read her report on Inauguration Day.