By DARLENE SUPERVILLE
WASHINGTON (AP) — The handprints of military children pressed onto paper hearts are decorating a corner inside the White House and the lawn as first lady Jill Biden celebrates Valentine’s Day.
Three large hearts, one with the message, “Reach Out with Open Hearts and Helping Hands this Valentine’s Day,” and two others featuring handprints are on display on the north lawn in view of television cameras where White House correspondents stand for their live reports.
Cut-outs of dog Commander and cat Willow are also part of the display.
The theme continues inside the executive mansion as a corner of the East Wing entrance is decorated with three more large hearts, all printed with “Love,” and replicas of the dog and cat. Hearts bearing the children’s handprints have been strung together and hung in a window for visitors taking public tours to see.
The first lady and the children worked on the “heart” projects when she visited the U.S. Army Garrison Fort Drum, New York, home of the 10th Mountain Division, on Jan. 30. The 3- to 5-year-old children are enrolled at Fort Drum South Riva Ridge Child Development Center.
The visit was part of her Joining Forces initiative to support military and veteran families and their caregivers.
Valentine’s Day is one of the first lady’s favorite holidays. She also displayed Valentine’s Day messages at the White House in 2021 and 2022.
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