In Michelle Obama's Emotional Final White House Speech, She Says She Hopes to Have Made America 'Proud'

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During a White House ceremony honoring the school counselor of the year on Friday, Michelle Obama got emotional during her final speech as First Lady of the United States.

As reported by The Hill, Obama nearly broke down as she talked directly to young Americans.

“This country belongs to you,” she said, as her voice quivered.

“Do not ever let anyone make you feel like you don’t matter or like you don’t have a place in our American story, because you do. And you have a right to be exactly who you are.

When you are struggling and you start thinking about giving up, I want you to remember something that my husband and I have talked about since we first started this journey nearly a decade ago.

Something that has carried us through every moment in this White House and every moment of our lives — and that is the power of hope. The belief that something better is always possible if you’re willing to work for it and fight for it.

If your family doesn’t have much money, I want you to remember that in this country, plenty of folks, including me and my husband, we started out with very little.

“Though with a lot of hard work and a good education, anything is possible, even becoming president. That’s what the American dream is all about."

“I hope I've made you proud,” the popular first lady also said.

Speaking of the American dream, Obama drew criticism in February of 2008, when she said about America during a speech in Milwaukee, Wisconsin:

“For the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country … not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change.

I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction and just not feeling so alone in my frustration and disappointment.”

Yana Paskova/Stringer/Getty Images

Two days later, she clarified what she meant during an interview with a CNN affiliate:

"What I was clearly talking about is that I am proud in how Americans are engaging in the political process, I mean everyone has said what I said, in that we haven't seen these record numbers of turnouts, people who are paying attention, going to rallies, watching debates.

For the first time in my lifetime I am seeing people rolling up their sleeves in way that I haven't seen and really trying to figure this out, and that's the source of pride I was talking about."

“I've always been proud of my country,” she added.

A majority of Americans have consistently been proud of Michelle Obama—or at least have approved of her job as first lady. An August Gallup poll found her approval rating at 64 percent—higher than that of both Bill Clinton and Melania Trump.