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Biden opens annual Easter egg roll on a hopeful note

President Biden opened the White House’s annual Easter egg roll on Monday on a hopeful note, addressing a morning wave of the thousands of children who will roll colored eggs down the South Lawn over the course of the day. 

“What I see looking across the South Lawn is a country made up of possibilities,” Biden told the crowd. “Anything is possible in America when we do it together.”

For the second year in a row, the event was themed around “EGGugation” in honor of first lady Jill Biden’s 30 years as a teacher. 

Various education-themed activities were scattered around the South Lawn and the Ellipse, including a reading nook with children’s authors, a talent show and a physical “EGGucation” zone.

For the main event — the titular “egg roll” — guests wielded painted wooden spoons to prod the eggs along. 

After blowing a whistle to start the egg roll, the first lady visited the reading nook, where she read “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” to a group of children. Her grandson Beau, who is Hunter Biden’s son, held the book open for her.

Meanwhile, the president greeted guests and watched children participate in the egg roll game. Vice President Harris and second gentleman Emhoff were also in attendance, observing other games on the South Lawn.

“Learning doesn’t only happen in a classroom, there are so many fun opportunities to learn around us every day,” the first lady said in remarks from the White House balcony. 

It was Biden’s second egg roll as president, after the event was canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He told Al Roker of NBC’s “Today” show ahead of the event that he hoped to preside over “maybe five” more, in a nod to his plans to run for reelection. 

Braswell Family Farms in North Carolina donated the 30,000 eggs for the event, a particularly pricey gift given the recent inflation of egg prices amid an outbreak of avian flu. Braswell spokesperson John Watson said he hopes the event helps teach people about the value of eggs.

Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) attended the event with his baby. Also spotted on the South Lawn was Meena Harris, the vice president’s niece, as well as Secretary of State Antony Blinken, White House senior adviser Anita Dunn and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.

The egg roll has been an annual Easter tradition since 1878. In the 1870s, children started gathering on Capitol Hill to roll eggs down the hill on Easter Monday. However, this practice was banned in 1876 after it started damaging the grounds. 

Two years later, President Rutherford B. Hayes issued an order saying any children who wanted to roll eggs for Easter could come to the White House to do so. Over the years, the event has grown into a major attraction.

A number of celebrities were scheduled to appear at the event this year, according to the White House, including Olympic gymnast Dominique Dawes, singer Halle Bailey and cast members from Disney’s “The Lion King” on Broadway.

Also among the attendees were local families affected by gun violence. Jawanna Hardy, founder of Guns Down Friday, volunteered at the event.

“It’s so important because these kids are right from the D.C. community, and they’ve never been to the White House,” Hardy said.

Source: The Hill

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