JB MDL members attend White House Easter Egg Roll
By Master Sgt. Donna T. Jeffries, 514th Air Mobility Wing
/ Published April 10, 2010
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST -- It's not every day you get to play on the White House lawn.
This sentiment was echoed by many of the 50 Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst members to join close to 30,000 people April 5 on the South Lawn of the White House for the annual White House Easter Egg Roll.
A tradition dating back to 1861, the Easter Egg Roll gives children the opportunity to visit their Nation's Capitol for a day of fun and play. What began on the hills of the Capitol building has grown to become an event hosted by the President on the grounds of his home. This year's theme of "Ready, Set, Go!" was designed to encourage everyone to begin leading a more healthy and active lifestyle.
To handle the amount of attendees, all ticket holders were assigned a two-hour time slot to be on the premises beginning at 7:45 a.m. through 5:45 p.m. The First Family greeted their guests midmorning and spent time interacting with the children.
"Today, the lawn has been transformed into a playground for thousands of children and can truly be called 'America's Backyard,' wrote first lady, Michele Obama in the event program.
Stations included the Rock 'n' Roll and Storytime Stages, Sports and Fitness Zones and Play with Your Food.
"The theme 'Ready, Set, Go!' had so many healthy living stations for the children to experience," said Staff Sgt. Lora Pogue of the 87th Dental Squadron who attended with her two sons. There were also so many characters from PBS Kids (Public Broadcasting Service) and Nickelodeon walking around the South Lawn giving the children photo opportunities, she added.
Attendees participated in everything from classic Easter games such as the egg roll, egg hunt and egg coloring to making arts and crafts in the "Eggspress Yourself" area. The children also learned dance moves and tested their hoopla hoop skills in the "Hop to It' section.
"The highlight of our day was being only a few feet from the White House," said JB MDL member, Master Sgt. Jeffrey Eastep of the Air Mobility Command Test and Evaluation Squadron. "My daughter really enjoyed the NFL Challenge event. It was truly a memorable and once-in-a-lifetime experience."
Other JB MDL attendees agree that their experience was once-in-a-lifetime.
"To be able to walk on the White House lawn is something that most people will never get a chance to do," said Tech. Sgt. Andrew Silkworth of the 621st Contingency Response Wing. "I can only hope my son will remember it in years to come; I know my wife and I will remember that day for the rest of our lives!"
"It was a nice way for the Air Force and First Family to personally reward our daughter for all the time my husband has been gone this last year with his two deployments and numerous temporary duties," said Maj. Wendi Duffy of the 714th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. "Somehow for two hours she forgot that 'Daddy's gone, when's daddy (coming) home, or when is daddy leaving again,' and just got to be a child," said the Air Force Reserve officer.
Every child received a wooden egg signed by the President and the first lady as a keepsake.