QUANTICO, Va., June 4 (UPI) -- First lady Michelle Obama Friday told graduates of a small Virginia military high school they are "the greatest" and are role models for all Americans.
Delivering the commencement speech at Quantico Middle/High School, the first lady congratulated graduates on the "strength, resilience and maturity" they developed as military children, "learning to say grace night after night with an empty seat at the table, keeping your spirits up through all the missed holidays … stepping up to help with chores, even when you were juggling activities and homework of your own."
Obama told the 27 members of the Quantico High School class of 2011 they were ahead of the game because they don't "sweat the small stuff."
"Because from a very young age, you all have been dealing with the big stuff. And that's given you perspective. You may not realize it now, but your experience has given you a resilience and a sturdiness of spirit that will prepare you for the setbacks and hardships that you will inevitably face in life. And that's something that no one can ever take away from you," the first lady said in prepared remarks.
"Most important of all, you've learned how to make friends with people from all different backgrounds. You've learned to look beyond the surface -- what someone looks like, what their accent sounds like, what they're wearing. Instead, you've gotten to know people for who they really are. …
"You already have a skill set that so many employers are seeking, one that will position you for success both in the career you choose and the life you build for yourself with your family," Obama said.
"For military kids, service is the air that you breathe. … You really are the greatest. … That's why we all brag about America's military kids every chance we get.
"You all are role models, not just for other military kids, but for all kids, for all adults, for all Americans who want to see what patriotism and sacrifice and service to country really look like."
Earlier Friday Obama invited American Indian children to the White House to plant the traditional crops of corn, beans and squash in the kitchen garden.
Obama and the children also harvested lettuces, rhubarb, chard, kohlrabi, sugar snap peas, turnips and broccoli from the White House kitchen garden, some of which will be eaten at a state dinner Tuesday in honor of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.