Michelle Obama Gives Emotional Final Speech As First Lady

Michelle Obama delivered her final speech as first lady of the United States.

The address was for the 2017 School Counselor of the Year event at the White House. This is especially fitting as Obama has supported education throughout her stay in the White House.

It was an incredibly emotional event that ended with seemingly the entire East Room -- Obama included -- in tears.

Obama first spoke about the importance of school counselors, specifically honoring Terri Tchorzynski. She spoke about the Obama administration's work in education, including both her social initiatives, as well as administrative funding and policy.

She said,

Then she really got into the emotional thrust of her address.

Obama spoke about what school counselors and other educators do, saying,

Counselors come in early, stay late and reach into their own pockets to stick with students in their darkest moments, Obama said.

In doing this, she said, students are made to feel empowered and "know that this country belongs to you."

Obama told the audience she couldn't think of a better message to send in her final address as first lady.

She said,

Obama explained being a religious person -- no matter what your religion -- is also part of a great American tradition and is embedded in the founding of this country.

She said,

She directly addressed young people, saying,

Obama urged young people to serve and protect their freedoms, namely by getting a great education and preparing themselves to join the national conversation with critical thinking.

She explained,

She mentioned her father getting up every day to go to his job, which was a central part in her speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

She said,

Obama was holding back tears throughout this part of the address. The counselors behind her were doing the same, and many broke down in tears by the end of the speech.

She held back tears as the room stood to applaud her.

The first lady concluded,

She ended her speech with her voice cracking, thanking the counselors for the work they do.

Obama said,

As the room applauded, she turned away from the microphone, seemingly with relief for having made it through the speech without totally breaking down in tears.

The rest of the room did not have quite as much strength as she did.

Citations: NPR