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Military Families Get First Look at WH Decorations

Military Families Get First Look at WH Decorations

By Adam O'Neal - December 4, 2013

Dozens of military members and their families were among the first to get a glimpse of White House holiday decorations Wednesday afternoon, as Michelle Obama welcomed them to the unveiling of a festively adorned East Wing.

The first lady, in remarks delivered in the East Room, praised the sacrifices of the special guests and described the theme of the year’s decorations, “Gather Round.”

“No matter what challenges you all face -- during the holidays or any other time during the year -- you all just dig a little deeper. … You just get creative and you find ways to make it work,” she said in a speech that lasted a little over 10 minutes.

Prior to her remarks, the families toured the Christmas-themed East Wing. “No one has seen this, not even the president. … You guys are the first,” she later told them.

On display were several Christmas trees laden with thousands of ornaments, many of which contained tributes to military families. A total of 83 volunteers helped set up and design the holiday display, which also included a 300-pound gingerbread house and an edible White House (which rested atop a full-size, edible “fireplace”).

The centerpiece of the decorations is the official White House Christmas tree, an 18½-foot Douglas fir from the Crystal Spring Tree Farm in Lehighton, Pa. It is decorated with more than 2,000 ornaments.

Following the first lady’s remarks, several children joined her in an adjacent room to work on arts and crafts projects. Before leaving, she assured the parents that their children would be safe (although they might not return clean).

Mrs. Obama also cautioned the audience not to worry about the children making a mess. “And don’t worry, nothing can be broken that can’t be repaired. I guarantee you my kids have broken it if it can be broken.” 

Adam O'Neal is a political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at aoneal@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearAdam.

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