First Lady Michelle Obama will appear on the May cover of Glamour magazine, alongside actresses Sarah Jessica Parker and Kerry Washington for a special feature to support America’s veterans ahead of Memorial Day.
In an interview at the White House, the three women sat down to discuss the importance of the holiday with the publication, and all expressed their appreciation for both veterans and military spouses.
Michelle Obama told Glamour’s Cindi Leive one of her first duties as First Lady was to travel around the country and listen to everyday women.
“We held small discussion groups, [and] there were voices that were new to me: the voices of military spouses, many of them women, and veterans,” Obama said. “I was overwhelmed by their challenges, and the notion that we as a country don’t even know that these women exist, because we live in a country where one percent of the population protects the rights and freedoms of the other 99 percent of us.”
“We have to keep encouraging women to know that asking for help is not a weakness; it is a necessity,” she explained. “We all do it. Kerry Washington needs help a lot.”
“A lot,” Washington said.
“Sarah Jessica Parker needs it,” Obama added. “Michelle Obama needs a lot of help. A lot of help. Lots of help….”
Parker stated her opinion that those who don’t serve must do more to be supportive of veteran’s causes, and that she feels “intimidated” by the service of service men and women:
I feel like there’s a laundry list of issues they face…. Being a working mother, serving, returning from Iraq or Afghanistan—I almost don’t know where to begin…. And I feel intimidated by their service; I feel ashamed that I haven’t served. So I almost feel like I’m patronizing by inquiring how to help. When you see a serviceman or -woman, you always—I always—say, “Thank you for your service.” But you know that’s not enough…. What do we do? Every community has a community of veterans. Where do we begin?
The First Lady also said she believes American society must do more to fight stigmas on mental health conditions, such as PTSD:
One thing I want to clarify—that every service member, veteran, wants us to remember—is that the vast majority of people returning from service come back completely healthy,” she said. “But when we do come across someone who is struggling…we have to develop a culture of open arms and acceptance so that they feel comfortable saying, “I’m a veteran. And by the way, I need little help.”
Washington said of veterans returning home with PTSD: “They aren’t broken; they are heroes. They have extraordinary discipline, courage, and capacity—that’s what we can focus on.”
The May issue of Glamour is slated to hit stores Apr. 14.