HAMPTON

As first lady Melania Trump high-fived a crowd of elementary school children awaiting her arrival inside a hanger on Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Ashley Adams worked her way down the risers.

"Oh my God, I'm gonna faint," she shrieked as she inched down.

As she reached the bottom, she pulled out her black phone and held it out in front of herself and the first lady.

"I'm taking a selfie with Melania Trump. I'm gonna faint, oh my God."

The sailor was there with her children and others from Phenix School in Hampton to see the first lady speak Wednesday morning. 

"I think it's amazing because some of us in the military, you know, we kind of just do our jobs, and we don't really think about what the administration is doing because we just have the things we have to do every day," she said. "So for them to take time out and come down and say, 'Hi' and 'Merry Christmas' and 'Happy New Year' is pretty awesome."

Trump spoke briefly to about 700 airmen and soldiers, toured an F-22 and met students from Burbank Elementary in Hampton and Bethel Manor Elementary in York County, along with those from Phenix. The Heritage Brass from the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band warmed up the crowd with patriotic songs before military brass introduced the first lady.

"I'm honored to be able to say, 'Welcome home,' " Trump told the room. "We know that we are free because you are brave. And I speak on behalf of my husband when I tell you we are forever grateful for your service."

She also thanked the families of those who serve.

"Please know that your sacrifices do not go unnoticed or unappreciated. The president and I thank you for all that you do," she said.

Twins Logan and Vincent Dunning, 10, were there with their parents, who both serve in the Air Force. Vincent said it was an honor to hear Trump speak and Logan said it was exciting because she is a "big celebrity" and not a lot of people get to see her.

Their mother, Sr. Master Sgt. Martha Dunning, said it was an honor to know the first lady cares about military families.

"I think it's great patriotism and support for her to come and thank the children personally," Dunning said.

Ashley Ide, principal of Burbank Elementary, said it was exciting to watch her students be so excited and have a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

"She was giving each child good eye contact and high-fives," she said.

At her school, about 75 children come from military families. Those with military connections in the third, fourth and fifth grades came to the base on Wednesday.

Bethel Manor Elementary brought its fifth graders to see Trump. The school is full of military families, said Principal Dave Reitz.

"This is part of history," he said, about bringing his students to see the first lady speak.

Before they came, the students researched Trump and were impressed to hear she spoke so many languages, Reitz said.

Ryder Beach, 10, was nervous to give Trump a high-five, but did it anyway.

The fifth-grader at Phenix School said he will keep this day in his memory for a long time.

Robyn Sidersky, ​757-222-5117, robyn.sidersky@pilotonline.com

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.