Fort Meade children make video for "Kids Inaugural"
January 16, 2009
Imagine making a video about being a military child because first lady Michelle Obama is interested in your life.
That's what about 20 Fort Meade, Md. children and their parents did Jan. 14 when a production crew came to the installation to tape a video about military families.
The film is slated to air on cable television during the inauguration weekend. The video is also scheduled to appear on the Disney Channel as part of "The Kids Inaugural: We Are the Future" concert held Jan. 19 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
"The Kids Inaugural: We Are the Future" concert will be co-hosted by Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President-elect Joseph Biden, as a tribute to military families. The musical guests scheduled to perform include the Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus and Bow Wow.
"I was a little nervous," said Brittney Pennington, 8, about being filmed for the video.
But when she learned that the families who participated in the film would attend the concert as special guests of Obama and Biden, Brittney was thrilled.
"I'm really excited and I can't wait to go," said the third-grader at Ridgeway Elementary School in Severn.
Several commands on post initially were contacted about the video production by Installation Command Sgt. Maj. Esmond Bakker, who asked service members and their children to participate in the project.
The children were interviewed and filmed at the Child and Youth Services building, The Lanes Fort Meade, the Post Movie Theater and the ChildrenA,A1s Library at Potomac Place.
Lianne Su, a segment producer with Dempsey Productions, the Los Angeles-based company that created the video, asked the children what life is like at Fort Meade, what do they do in their spare time and what it is like to have a parent serving in the military.
"It was really cool," said Rishell Chambers, 12, of her interview at the Children's Library.
Rishell, whose stepfather, Tech Sgt. Eric Schwemle, serves with the 70th Communications Squadron on Fort Meade, said she was happy to tell people what it's like to be a military child.
"I have a lot of friends who don't know about life in the military," said the seventh-grader at Bethel Christian Academy in Jessup.
Schwemle said his stepdaughter wanted to attend the inauguration in Washington, D.C., but he and his wife decided not to because of the overwhelming crowds.
However, when the family heard about the video project, they jumped at the chance to get involved. "It was incredible," Schwemle said of their participation. "The chance to see Mrs. Obama is better than going to the inauguration." Navy Chief Micki Pennington, Brittney's mother and a communications specialist with Navy Information Operations Command-Suitland, said she was glad Brittney and her daughter Arianna were able to take part in the project because they are dealing with the emotions of their father being deployed in Iraq.
"I'm just really glad they had this kind of support," said Pennington, who was also filmed for the video. "Things like this really help."