Jill Biden saluted a roomful of military wives Saturday for their dedication to their families and the country.
"You are very special people," said Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden. "Thank you for what you do and thank you for your service."
Biden spoke to the women at "Operation Home Cooking," an event that brought together military spouses from around Washington at the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show.
Biden drew upon her own experienceÂ as the mother of an active service member, recalling how she sent food to her half son, Beau Biden, when he was deployed to Iraq for 12 months.
"You send food because food is love," she said. "We give them what we do and what we make and we give them some of ourselves."
Her brief speech was the event's highlight for many in attendance, whoÂ relished the opportunity to have some time to themselves.
"It's just really hard being a military spouse, especially with them going back and forth to Iraq and Afghanistan and all the things that are going on," said Shawnnay Holland, whose husband just returned stateside.
"You have to raise your kids, you have to try and keep a happy home for
them, even though you're sad because you don't know if they're coming home or not. You just pray and you keep your head up and keep going."
Many of the attendees were in theÂ D.C. area to care for loved ones staying at nearby military hospitals, including Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital.
"They are the ones, the unsung heroes of the war, the unsung heroes of the military," said Denise Medved, founder of the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show and daughter of a West Point graduate.
"They're the ones keeping the home fires burning, they are the ones who have to deal with aÂ lot of the aftermath when their loved ones come home," she said.
"Operation Home Cooking" was held in conjunction with the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show, a traveling consumer event for those with a passion for food and entertaining.
The idea to hold an event honoring military spouses sprang from the suggestion of an Army major whose wifeÂ attended the show, Medved said.
"He said there are so many military spouses out there that need a break. This is a day for them to just forget all of their troubles."
The day of food and fun included presentations by celebrity chefs Paula Deen and Bobby Flay and a luncheon during which the women had the opportunity to meet Biden and the wives of top military brass.
But to the attendees, the event was about celebrating a common bond.
"This is one of the greatest things about military families,Â you can sit next to somebody you don't even know and just the camaraderie is outstanding," said Lorrussia Averett, whose husband has been deployed three times in 27 years with the Army.
"It's just a lot of fun."