Military Children, Families Participate in White House Easter Egg Roll

Some 35,000 children and their parents gathered on the White House’s South Lawn March 28 as lottery-winning guests of the first family, who hosted the final Easter Egg Roll of President Barack Obama’s term.

Steeped in tradition since 1878, the 138th annual 10-plus hour rain-or-shine event featured storytelling, scheduled and surprise musical guests, workshops and professional athlete appearances.

“If we think about what we’ve accomplished over these past seven years, it’s pretty incredible,” First Lady Michelle Obama said, flanked by first dog Bo and Sunny the Easter Bunny. “When Barack and I first got here, one of the goals that we had was to open up the White House with as many people from as many backgrounds as possible.”

Recognizing Military Families

She specifically lauded military families. “We can’t forget all of our military families who we love, honor and respect for their service and sacrifice,” she said. “We couldn’t be more excited for this last Easter Egg Roll.”

Clouds parted as the festivities commenced, and Idina Menzel delivered an inspiring rendition of the national anthem before the crowd that included pop stars Beyonce and Jay-Z and their daughter, Blue Ivy.

With the theme “Let’s Celebrate,” the event also highlighted “Let’s Move!” -- the first lady’s initiative to reduce childhood obesity -- in which Mrs. Obama led a fun run.  “I'm going to be running around the White House with a bunch of kids and any adults who feel like they can hang,” she said.

The Obamas mingled with their guests, and the president read stories to the children before heading to the courts for some basketball and tennis with them.

April marks the Month of the Military Child, which recognizes the critical role children play in the armed forces community. Care of the nation’s 2 million military children, ranging in ages from newborn to 18, sustain the fighting force and fortify the health, security, and safety of military families and communities, Pentagon officials said.

(Follow Amaani Lyle on Twitter: @LyleDoDNews)