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A long line of Marines, sailors and their families filed into the entrance at the Paige Field House at Camp Pendleton on Sunday. Some arrived as early as 8 a.m. to be sure they snagged a front row seat to see First Lady Michelle Obama.
The First Lady is scheduled to return to San Diego Sunday as part of her advocacy campaign on behalf of 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.
Mrs. Obama will visit Camp Pendleton to meet military personnel and their loved ones. She's also scheduled to make a public speech.
"We made it to number one, " said Linda Valdez the wife of a Vietnam war veteran and the daughter of a World War two veteran. She arrived at 8:30 am 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." Said Valdez
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 about the Obama presidency.
The William 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.
Willams got up early to be sure her grand children Dejah Williams 7 and JaQualon Williams 11 had a chance to see the First Lady in person.
“I think it’s wonderful that she 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.
"To recognize and tap their skills, strength and commitment to service, to build stronger civilian-military community ties, and to engage and highlight the service and sacrifice of military families to ensure their voices are heard inside the Administration,” a White House statement said.