Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. , Dec. 12, 2018 —
First Lady Melania Trump visited Joint Base Langley-Eustis Soldiers and Airmen today to thank the service members for their sacrifices.
“I have said these words before but they are worth repeating. We know that we are the free because you are brave. And I speak on behalf of my husband when I say we are forever grateful for your service.”
She also recognized service members who had recently returned home from deployment as well as those who assisted with natural disasters.
“I’m honored to be able to say, ‘Welcome home,’ and thank you for answering the call of duty.”
The First Lady also recognized the family members of those who serve.
“We know that you often endure time apart, which also comes with a degree of uncertainty. And some of you are here while your loved ones are far away,” she said. “Frequent moves and deployments can be hard and that kind of lifestyle requires its own kind of incredible courage. Please know that your sacrifices do not go unnoticed or unappreciated and the president and I thank you for all that you do.”
After addressing the service members, DoD civilians, family members and students from across Hampton Roads, she took time to shake their hands and pose for photographs in the aircraft hangar at the 1st Fighter Wing. In addition to the 700 service members, there were about 200 hundred more participants in the crowd.
Accompanying Mrs. Trump was the Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan who introduced the First Lady and also made conversation with those attending.
Mrs. Trump completed her visit with an up-close look at the cockpit of an F-22 Raptor.
“The President and I have unconditional appreciation for all that you do,” she said. “This administration will always stand with the men and women of the armed forces and the families that support them. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you and may God bless you, your families and the United States of America.”