On Friday, as President Donald Trump continued his tour of Asia, First Lady Melania Trump made a pit stop in Alaska and kicked off Veterans Day weekend with a visit to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage.
According to The Washington Post, Melania, who was joined by 12 children, played with Play-Doh and made a harmonica out of ordinary household materials.
— Tegan Hanlon (@teganhanlon) November 10, 2017
Stacy Dougherty, whose husband deployed to Afghanistan about two months before the first lady's visit, explained to Alaska Public Media she found out the day before that her daughter was one of the “lucky ones” to be selected to meet Melania.
She made sure to arrive at the venue early so she could have a nice view and take pictures to immortalize the moment for her daughter.
Rachael Connolly's son was also selected and was seated directly next to the first lady — a move that she said made her “a little bit nervous” he'd be overwhelmed.
“He was excited,” Connolly told Alaska Public Media after the event. “To him, it was just some lady coming to play with him.”
Melania reportedly marveled at how fresh the air was in Alaska and asked the kids about skiing and animals, according to the Alaska Public Media.
Along with spending time with some of the base's youngest occupants, The Washington Post reported Melania also was shown a couple of the educational programs the base offers, including a 3D printer, sewing projects, and fish made out of compact discs.
Austin Baird, a reporter for NBC News affiliate KTUU, tweeted that one of the 3D-printed objects included a model of the White House, which they presented to the first lady:
— Austin Baird (@AustinBaird) November 10, 2017
Tamra De Benedetto, who organizes all of the children's activities, told The Washington Post each program has a “reason” behind it and called the first lady “delightful and very genuine.”
Air Force Master Sgt. David Jennings attended the event with his wife and two daughters and told The Washington Post it's rare that base residents are able to get as close to visiting dignitaries as they did with Melania.
They took photos at the event, and he called the experience “a great family memory."