President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address featured a military family reunion as part of his address to the nation, drawing cheers and chants of “U-S-A” from lawmakers and dignitaries in the House chamber.
The reveal came near the end of the speech, as Trump was speaking of the “heavy burden” overseas wars have placed on military families.
“Especially spouses like Amy Williams from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and her 2 children — 6-year-old Elliana and 3-year-old Rowan,” Trump said, pointing to the family in the crowd above the house floor. “Amy works full time, and volunteers countless hours helping other military families. For the past 7 months, she has done it all while her husband, Sgt. 1st Class Townsend Williams, is in Afghanistan on his fourth deployment to the Middle East.”
Trump noted that the children “have not seen their father’s face in many months” and their sacrifice, like that of other military families, helps contribute to national security.
Then the president revealed his surprise.
“I am thrilled to inform you that your husband is back from deployment, and he is here with us tonight,” Trump announced as Williams, with the 82nd Airborne Division, walked into the chamber and embraced his wife. “We couldn’t keep him waiting any longer.”
Williams son giggled as his father hugged his mother, and as the crowd of lawmakers stood in loud celebration.
The moment was one of several military-themed personal anecdotes in the speech, which have become a staple of the annual speech. Earlier in the evening, Trump recognized former Tuskegee Airmen Charles McGee, who celebrated his 100th birthday in December and was featured at the Super Bowl coin toss on Sunday. That shout-out similarly drew resounding applause.
The veteran and military stories were also among the few bipartisan moments in the speech, which drew frequent cheers from Republicans but audible boos from Democrats as Trump spoke about his plans for immigration, health care and education policy.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.