January 31st, 2015 19:10 EST
First Lady Depicts Veterans` Lives to TV, Movie Industry Members
By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
The stories of veterans are more complicated and inspiring than they are depicted on television and in movies, First Lady Michelle Obama said at a screenwriters event today.
Speaking at the National Geographic Society, here, she addressed writers, content creators and other industry leaders on the power of telling veterans` real stories.
You have the power to shape our understanding of the world around us, " the first lady said. You all are in a unique position to help us address some of the most challenging issues that we face as a nation. "
The lives of troops, veterans and their families yield great untold stories that cry out for attention, Obama said.
But viewers generally see veterans depicted as broken, downtrodden and homeless, or as saintly heroes with great courage and moral clarity, she said.
A Truer Picture of Veterans
Most veterans are men in TV, commercials and movies, Obama said, reminding the audience that 1.5 million women veterans also have served in uniform.
Current depictions, she noted, don`t reflect the real courage and struggle and sacrifice veterans make, and all the skills they can offer.
So often, we only see the emotional homecomings, but not the rest of the story. And having had the privilege of meeting so many of our troops and veterans, I can tell you that the real stories are much more complicated and much more inspiring, " she said.
Today, I`m calling on all of you across the entertainment industry to change the conversation about our veterans and military families, " the first lady said.
Give us the full story. Show us veterans " who were born to serve and keep giving back long after they hang up their uniform " strong female veterans with skills and experience who can thrive in any kind of business or organization " show us the courage of " spouses whose strength and passion for their family and country can inspire us all, " Obama said.
"Welcome Back Our Veterans`
Depicting current and former service members as ordinary characters is the way we hope our country will welcome back our veterans, " Obama said. Not by setting them apart, but by fully integrating them into the fabric of our communities. "
Entertainment industry professionals can change the game for the newest generation of veterans and their families, she added.
Obama encouraged the entertainers to take the next step to hire or cast a veteran, or bring one into the writers` room.
That`s how you get a real, true understanding of what it means to be an American veteran, " she said, adding that many veterans and family member organizations are willing to connect the industry with veterans and families who will tell their stories.
Right now, with our combat mission over in Afghanistan and more of our veterans transitioning home, this work couldn`t be more important, " she said.
For so many years, service men and women have had Americans` backs, and now it`s our turn to step up for them, " Obama said.
I know that you all can do that, " she said. I know that you have the talent and creativity -- and more importantly, the humanity -- to succeed in this mission. "
Photo Credit: Wikipedia