Jill Biden leaves Joe's side to give commencement address to military kids in Japan

 May 23, 2023

First Lady Jill Biden left her husband's side while the pair were in Japan for him to attend the G7 summit last week so she could give a commencement address at a high school for kids of U.S. military members stationed there.

She addressed the graduating class at Matthew C. Perry High School, located at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi, Japan.

"Pump it up maroon!" she yelled to the crowd, dressed in maroon caps and gowns.

"You are better prepared to face the future than almost anyone your age," she told the students. noting that many of them had experienced "walking into a lunchroom and not seeing a familiar face."


Biden also cheered the seniors who had decided to enlist and told the others, "I know that you will keep serving your country in your own way."

"Your world has never been a sitcom on black and white TV," she told the kids in acknowledgment that it can be rough to be a child of military parents.

Her appearance was part of the Joining Forces initiative, which was started with Michelle Obama during the Obama administration and revived when her husband became president.

She left for D.C. after the event, while her husband was still in Japan at another meeting with G7 leaders.

Her other activities

While in Japan, she also spent time with the spouses of G7 leaders.

She attended the Peace Park and Memorial Museum at Hiroshima with the President, but went to a separate wreath-laying ceremony with the other spouses.

At the Next Generations' Symposium for local students, she said, "Today we gather just a few steps away from the monument that memorializes part of the deadliest war yet known to mankind. We must teach this history, so that we can understand the choices in front of us."

'Choose creation over destruction, innovation over inhumanity, peace over bloodshed, democracy over autocracy,' she continued, telling the students they were "builders of democracy and praising them for "working for climate justice."

G7 a chance to stand up to China

She was accompanied on that part of the trip by her granddaughter Maisy, who had just graduated from University of Pennsylvania days earlier.

The G7 was supposed to be President Biden's opportunity to show solidarity with the other Asian nations against China, but he ended up leaving early to go back to Washington and deal with urgent debt ceiling negotiations.

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