First Lady Michelle Obama was honored for her work in promoting good nutrition and healthy lifestyles by the spouses of the United States Senate at a luncheon in Washington, DC on Wednesday, May 21. The spouses had chosen to plant a breadfruit tree in the McBryde Garden of the National Tropical Botanical Garden in her honor and extended an invitation on NTBG’s behalf to Mrs. Obama to come to the NTBG and turn the first shovel for the planting.
Irene Hirono, widow of the late Senator Daniel Inouye, had put NTBG’s name and the work of its Breadfruit Institute before a small committee that had been formed to select how the First Lady would be honored. Ms. Hirono also suggested a Hawaiian theme for the luncheon, having leis flown in from the Islands, and was present at the DC ceremony, along with Dr. Susan Blumenthal, wife of Massachusetts Senator Edward Markey. It was Dr. Blumenthal who worked directly with NTBG staff to craft the honor.
The certificate, which portrayed photos of breadfruit and children planting, as well as NTBG’s breadfruit logo, read in part:
“The Spouses of the U.S. Senate Planted a “Tree of Life”, Breadfruit, in honor of the First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, at the National Tropical Botanical Garden, Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i, in recognition of her leadership and commitment to promoting healthy lifestyles.”