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Audience members listen as President Donald Trump speaks at the third annual Celebration of Military Mothers at the White House, May 10, 2019.

Audience members listen as President Donald Trump speaks at the third annual Celebration of Military Mothers at the White House, May 10, 2019. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Audience members listen as President Donald Trump speaks at the third annual Celebration of Military Mothers at the White House, May 10, 2019.

Audience members listen as President Donald Trump speaks at the third annual Celebration of Military Mothers at the White House, May 10, 2019. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

President Donald Trump waves to an audience member who shouted "thank you" during his speech at the third annual Celebration of Military Mothers at the White House, May 10, 2019.

President Donald Trump waves to an audience member who shouted "thank you" during his speech at the third annual Celebration of Military Mothers at the White House, May 10, 2019. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Audience members listen as President Donald Trump speaks at the third annual Celebration of Military Mothers at the White House, May 10, 2019.

Audience members listen as President Donald Trump speaks at the third annual Celebration of Military Mothers at the White House, May 10, 2019. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Karen Pence, the mother of a Marine Corps officer, waves to the crowd as she's singled out by President Donald Trump during the third annual Celebration of Military Mothers at the White House, May 10, 2019.

Karen Pence, the mother of a Marine Corps officer, waves to the crowd as she's singled out by President Donald Trump during the third annual Celebration of Military Mothers at the White House, May 10, 2019. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Vice President Mike Pence attends an event at the White House on May 10, 2019.

Vice President Mike Pence attends an event at the White House on May 10, 2019. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Audience members listen as President Donald Trump speaks at the third annual Celebration of Military Mothers at the White House, May 10, 2019.

Audience members listen as President Donald Trump speaks at the third annual Celebration of Military Mothers at the White House, May 10, 2019. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

President Donald Trump applauds as first lady Melania Trump speaks at the third annual Celebration of Military Mothers at the White House, May 10, 2019.

President Donald Trump applauds as first lady Melania Trump speaks at the third annual Celebration of Military Mothers at the White House, May 10, 2019. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

First lady Melania Trump speaks at the third annual Celebration of Military Mothers at the White House, May 10, 2019.

First lady Melania Trump speaks at the third annual Celebration of Military Mothers at the White House, May 10, 2019. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Audience members listen as President Donald Trump speaks at the third annual Celebration of Military Mothers at the White House, May 10, 2019.

Audience members listen as President Donald Trump speaks at the third annual Celebration of Military Mothers at the White House, May 10, 2019. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

President Donald Trump speaks at the third annual Celebration of Military Mothers at the White House, May 10, 2019.

President Donald Trump speaks at the third annual Celebration of Military Mothers at the White House, May 10, 2019. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump talk with military moms and spouses during the third annual Celebration of Military Mothers at the White House, May 10, 2019.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump talk with military moms and spouses during the third annual Celebration of Military Mothers at the White House, May 10, 2019. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Military mothers and spouses applaud as first lady Melania Trump speaks during the third annual Celebration of Military Mothers at the White House, May 10, 2019.

Military mothers and spouses applaud as first lady Melania Trump speaks during the third annual Celebration of Military Mothers at the White House, May 10, 2019. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump honored the nation's military mothers Friday, calling them "the backbone of America."

Trump told a group of moms gathered in the East Room of the White House for the third annual Celebration of Military Mothers that their "unwavering dedication and support strengthens our entire nation. Today, we honor you. We celebrate you. We salute you and everything that you do — so many things, so many great things — for our country."

He singled out mothers serving on active duty, telling them that they "have two of the most important jobs in the world: bravely defending America from our enemies and helping to raise the next generation of American patriots.

"You have spent Mother’s Days on ships out at sea, on bases in faraway lands, and staring down foreign threats in very, very dangerous areas. And you’ve done it all out of love for family, for country, and for duty. Our nation is forever in your debt."

To military spouses, Trump said, "you help carry your families through frequent moves and long deployments. You uplift your communities, care for your fellow military families, and sustain our service members through their most difficult battles.

And to mothers of those serving in the military, Trump said "you have given our country a gift beyond measure. You raised your children to live by the sacred values of loyalty, bravery, patriotism and service.

Among those in attendance were first lady Melania Trump and Vice President and Mrs. Mike Pence, the parents of an active-duty Marine officer.

news@stripes.com


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