‘I’m a participant in this journey’: How Jill Biden looks at her role as First Lady on first foreign trip

“I feel like what I’m bringing together in this journey of healing is unity,” Biden said during a brief Q&A with the press. It’s not just about America. “It’s global, isn’t it? It’s a global thing.”

Biden entered the Newlin Art Gallery, a Victorian-era building, in Newlin, England, on Saturday, and sat down at a shady outdoor picnic table to discuss veterans’ issues with a group of surfers. If that sounds inconsistent, it isn’t.

Bad Surf Veterans A program of volunteers that helps first responders, veterans and military families cope with the stresses of their jobs and lives, taking them on water surfing excursions off the coast of Cornwall. Biden told Bude Surf participants and their families that she herself is a surfer with her own longboard—”it’s white, there’s a big butterfly on it”—and that she was a champion of helping veterans in creative and therapeutic ways. , whether with physical activity or with emotional support.

“The water is very calm,” Biden told the group, which included members wearing Budd surf shirts, “Surf. Grow. Heal.” On them.

Biden chose the Budd Surf group as a good place for a solo spotlight, due in part to the support of the Invictus Games Foundation, an athletic competition for wounded warriors founded by Biden’s good friend, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex. Biden and Prince have been close acquaintances ever since they met in Washington, D.C. at an event in 2012, when the first lady was the second lady. Since then, she – and occasionally, her husband – has participated in several Invictus Games events, drawing attention to the charity project that originated in the United Kingdom.

“They’re all dealing with PTSD or anxiety, a lot of mental health issues,” Biden said of Surf Club participants. “But once they found surfing, they reached out to other veterans who… need treatment and help with their mental health. It helps them build their confidence back and tackle life and get on the right track again. There’s a way to help them.”

For Biden, it is personal to put the mental health and well-being of veterans on his list of initiatives.

“When my son Beau came back from Iraq, I told him, ‘Beau, I’m going to work with veterans. What should I know? What’s important?'” Biden said on Saturday, referring to his late son Beau Biden, who died of a brain tumor in 2015. “He said, ‘Mom, you have to focus on mental health.

She founded Joining Forces with former First Lady Michelle Obama a decade ago to help military families and veterans, and has now revived it for her turn as First Lady.

On Saturday, Biden marked one of several events in his calendar for England involving military issues – events that go beyond service and war. On Sunday, after a meeting with Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle, Biden will meet with British veterans who participated in the Walk of America, the 2018 campaign for which Biden served as mentor. Led by the Walking for the Wounded group, three veterans from the United States and three from the United Kingdom walked 1,000 miles across the United States, sharing the stories of fellow service members injured or wounded during their time in the military.

For Biden, the additional schedule and single time to use her platform as the first lady to talk about emotional health is underlining the “healer” part of her in the post-pandemic era and perhaps beyond. .

“You know, it was a tough year for everybody,” Biden said, talking about the United States and the global community gathered at the G7 summit. “But now we’re together, and we’re like, ‘Hey, how do we move on? And how do we give people hope to get there?


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