First lady Melania Trump delivered a graceful farewell speech on Monday, just two days before she and President Donald Trump are set to begin the next chapter of their journey as private citizens.
“It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve as first lady of the United States. I have been inspired by incredible Americans across our country who lift up our communities through their kindness and courage, goodness and grace,” Melania said.
“The past four years have been unforgettable. As Donald and I conclude our time in the White House, I think of all of the people I have taken home in my heart and their incredible stories of love, patriotism and determination,” she added.
“I see the faces of brave young soldiers who have told me with their pride in their eyes how much they love serving this country. To every service member and to our incredible military families: You are heroes, and you will always be in my thoughts and prayers.”
The Slovenian-born former supermodel, mother, wife and naturalized citizen was wrongly snubbed by major publications throughout the last four years. But the covers of Vogue and Elle magazines weren’t on her mind as she bid adieu to her time living on the second floor of the White House.
Her thoughts were instead with those whose lives she has graced through her initiatives and for all those who have served this country.
A Farewell Message from First Lady Melania Trump pic.twitter.com/WfG1zg2mt4
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) January 18, 2021
“I think of all of the members of law enforcement who greet us everywhere we go. At every hour of every day, they stand guard to keep our communities safe, and we are forever in their debt,” she said. “I have been moved by children I have visited in hospitals and foster care centers. Even as they fight difficult illnesses or face challenges, they bring such a joy to everyone they meet.”
“I remember the mothers who have battled the disease of opioid addiction and have overcome incredible hardships for love of their children. I have been inspired by the devoted caregivers for babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome and communities that give these children the support and care they need to grow.”
Melania described herself as “humbled” by all those who have worked tirelessly since March amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“As the world continues to confront the COVID-19 pandemic, I thank all the nurses, doctors, health care professionals, manufacturing workers, truck drivers and so many others who are working to save lives. We grieve for the families who have lost a loved one due to the pandemic. Every life is precious, and I ask all Americans to use caution and common sense to protect the vulnerable as millions of vaccines are now being delivered,” she said.
She then invoked her Be Best initiative, which spotlighted the struggles of children and adolescents dealing with the effects of cyberbullying and those affected by drug abuse. The initiative, as Melania mentioned, particularly highlighted the country’s opioid epidemic.
“The passion for helping children succeed has driven my policy initiatives as first lady. I launched Be Best to ensure that we as Americans are doing all we can to take care of the next generation. Be Best has concentrated on three pillars: well-being, online safety and opioid abuse. In a few short years, I have raised awareness of how to keep children safe online,” she said.
“We have made incredible progress on our nation’s drug epidemic and how it impacts the lives of newborns and families, and we have given a voice to our most vulnerable children in the foster care system.”
“It has been an honor to represent the American people abroad. I treasure each of my experiences and the inspiring people I have met along the way,” Melania said.
“As I say farewell to my role as first lady, it is my sincere hope that every American will do their part to teach our children what it means to be best. I ask parents to educate your children about the courageous and selfless heroes who worked and sacrificed to make this country the land of the free and to lead by example and care for others in your community.”
At the end of a divisive presidential campaign and election, the first lady asked Americans to “always choose love over hatred, peace over violence and others before yourself.”
“Together, as one national family, we can continue to be the light of hope for future generations and carry on America’s legacy of raising our nation to greater heights through our spirit of courage, goodness and faith,” she said.
“No words can express the depth of my gratitude for the privilege of having served as your first lady. To all the people of this country: You will be in my heart forever. Thank you, God bless you and God bless the United States of America.”
The first lady will end her time as FLOTUS on Wednesday the same way she began it: with dignity, grace and humility. The country might never again have the honor of hosting a woman of such class, elegance and beauty in the White House.
In a landscape of divisive politics, attacks against her family and one where she often found herself a target for scrutiny, Mrs. Trump always rose above it and remained a light on a path that too often, for four years, felt enveloped by darkness.
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