Michelle Obama surely had several people she could’ve invited to President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address, but she opted to leave one seat vacant. Why would she do that for such a historic night? See the touching reason here.
When Michelle Obama watches President Barack Obama take the podium for his final State of the Union address on Jan. 12, she will be surrounded by a full house — except for one empty seat. No, it’s not because an invite was declined, and no, she didn’t miscount her number of spots. Rather than inviting a friend or an important figure, the First Lady opted to use one of her box seats to honor those who lost their lives to gun violence.
“We leave one seat empty in the First Lady’s State of the Union Guest Box for the victims of gun violence who no longer have a voice – because they need the rest of us to speak for them,” the White House announced on its official website. “To tell their stories. To honor their memory. To support the Americans whose lives have been forever changed by the terrible ripple effect of gun violence – survivors who’ve had to learn to live with a disability, or without the love of their life. To remind every single one of our representatives that it’s their responsibility to do something about this.”
What a heartfelt way to pay tribute. Gun violence unfortunately takes the lives of thousands of Americans every year, but after the Dec. 2 mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., that killed 14 and injured 22 more, President Obama has been addressing the issue even more than in the past. He was even brought to tears while discussing the issue in a Jan. 5 press conference, so it makes complete sense that Michelle would want to represent something her husband feels so strongly about in such a powerful way.
Aside from the vacant tribute seat, 23 other inspiring individuals will be joining the First Lady in her State of the Union box with Dr. Jill Biden and the President’s Senior Advisor, Valerie Jarrett. Those who were selected “tell the story of the progress we have made since the President delivered his first address seven years ago,” according to the White House’s website. Among them are Mexican-American solider Oscar Vazquez and Syrian refugee Refaai Hamo. You can see a full list here, and watch some of the guests receive their invites below:
HollywoodLifers, what do you think of Michelle’s reason for leaving a seat open? Will you be watching the State of the Union address? Let us know below!