"Hello Camp Pendleton! You’re here and it’s Sunday!” First Lady Michelle Obama said to an excited crowd at Camp Pendleton. “You guys take my breath away.”
The First Lady returned to San Diego Sunday as part of her advocacy campaign on behalf of military families.
“To make sure that we realize our vision of an America that truly supports and engages our military,” she said. “Some of the most inspirational people I have ever met are men and women in uniform.”
She also had a special message for their spouses.
“You are heroes just as much as men and women in uniform. Here on the home front, you do the job of two or three,” she said.
Mrs. Obama paid special tribute to fallen Marines killed in Afghanistan.
“Today, our thoughts are also with the men and women who are in harms way around the world,” she said. “America needs to take care of you. It is our moral duty.”
A long line of Marines, Sailors and their families filed into the entrance at the Paige Field House at Camp Pendleton early on Sunday.
"We made it to number one!" Linda Valdez said.
The wife of a Vietnam war veteran and the daughter of a World War two veteran arrived at 8:30 a.m. to snag the first spot in line to see Mrs. Obama along with her son, granddaughter, and sister.
"It was important for my son and granddaughter to see this. The world is changing and they can be a part of the change," Valdez said.
Her granddaughter, 10-year-old Antonia, held on tightly to a handwritten letter she was hoping to give to Mrs. Obama.
"It has made her believe she can be president one day," said Valdez.
The Williams family was next in line.
Coaco Williams' husband, Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Kevin William, deployed to Afghanistan in February. This is his third deployment, but that doesn't make dealing with the long months apart any easier.
"We go through a lot, especially if you have kids. They are missing their dad, asking about him, wondering if he is going to be okay," said Williams.
She's thankful she has the support of her mother-in-law Lynita Williams.
"That's when the family just has to pitch in and help out," she said.
They got up early to be sure Dejah Williams, 7, and JaQualon Williams, 11, had a chance to see the First Lady in person.
“I think it’s wonderful that she [Michelle Obama] comes to encourage the folks that are here,” Eric Castro said. “All of the work that she’s doing for children, for the military, for the spouses. I think she’s just a breath of fresh air.”
The First Lady has issued a national call to action to address challenges facing military families.
“Husbands and sons are putting their lives on the line everyday and it’s important for them to know that the country appreciates it. It’s the very least that we can do to show them our appreciation and who better to do than the First Lady,” Marina Goldin said.
The First Lady promised to end her speech on time so everyone could see the NBA game. The President is backing the Lakers, she added.