April 22, 2009

Virginia Guard families join White House Easter Egg Roll

By Sgt. Andrew H. Owen
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

WASHINGTON — Virginia National Guardsmen and their families joined over 1,000 other military children and their parents for the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, April 18 on the South Lawn of the White House.

  White House Easter Egg Roll

Riley and Aiden Stewart reach for the same egg at the same time a the White House Easter Egg Roll April 18 on the South Lawn of the White House. (Courtesy Photo)

More than 70 participants from the Virginia National Guard came out to join in the day’s activities with thousands of civilian and military families from across the country. Over 500 National Guard families from five states attended the egg roll with some Soldiers leaving as early as 4 a.m. to head to the nation’s capital.

Lt. Col. Jeffrey Stewart and Warrant Officer Candidate Anna Stewart of the Virginia National Guard brought their two children, Riley and Aiden Stewart. According to Anna the children had fun seeing all the characters from TV, playing soccer and watching the jump rope team.

Following the Easter egg hunt some of the children were disappointed to find they could not keep the eggs they found.

“Riley was a little disappointed after she found her eggs at the egg hunt,” said Stewart of her daughter. “They took her eggs that she found and gave her a poster instead. She looked so sad when they did that.”

Children under 10 were also given a souvenir egg to take home. This year’s egg is the greenest egg in history, according to the White House website. It is made from hardwood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, which means the wood comes from environmentally and socially sustainable forests. In addition to being “green” the eggs were also colored bright green.

  White House Easter Egg Roll

Riley and Aiden Stewart kick the soccer ball back and forth to the soccer players on the South Lawn of the White House April 18 at the 2009 White House Easter Egg Roll. (Courtesy Photo)

On the Stewarts’ trip back to their vehicle on the Metro, Aiden fell asleep in his stroller still clutching his souvenir egg. “He wouldn’t even let me see it,” said Stewart of her son. “He wanted to hold on to it.”

In addition to the traditional Easter egg roll and Easter egg hunt, the President Obama and his family invited the participants to enjoy several other activities including live musical performances by Fergie, Ziggy Marley and others, cooking with celebrity chefs in the Kid's Kitchen, readings at the Storytime Stage, and dance, yoga and jump rope workshops.

The theme this year, “Let’s Go Play,” was intended to encourage America’s youth to lead healthy and active lives.
  
According to the White House, over 30,000 invitations to the event were sent out via email. This was the first time invitations were sent out electronically. The first Easter egg roll was held in 1814 by then first lady Dolly Madison.

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