The U.S. first lady displayed what it means to be an American in 2018, as she intentionally met with so many people, made her first solo trip overseas, and shared what her initiative meant to her — as well as making history along the way.
Let’s take a look at the best moments of first lady Melania Trump over this past year.
Lights up the room at the State of the Union address
During President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address in January, Melania wowed people as she entered the room to a standing ovation.
She sat down next to a 12-year-old boy who was then honored in the president’s speech for starting a movement of placing 40,000 flags on the graves of the “great heroes” for Veterans Day.
Cherishes longtime friendships at Barbara Bush’s funeral
When former first lady Barbara Bush passed away on April 17, 2018, Melania brought two special guests to honor Bush’s devotion to the White House staff.
The two guests, former White House head maitre d’ George Hannie and White House usher Buddy Carter, “were very close to the Bush family,” and Melania “wanted them to be able to pay their respects.”
Carter worked at the Blair House for 15 years and then began working at the White House as a butler during former President George H.W. Bush’s administration. Hannie worked at the White House for 46 years.
Visits with wounded troops ahead of the Fourth of July
The first lady made a surprise visit to spend time with wounded American service members a day before the Fourth of July.
“Thank you to the many dedicated service members & medical staff who take such good care of our men & women in uniform,” she tweeted about her visit.
Unveils “Be Best” awareness campaign
In May, Melania unveiled her “Be Best” campaign, launching her first official platform as the first lady.
The initiative revolves around encouraging children to understand the importance of their emotional, social, and physical health. It includes three pillars: well-being, social media use, and opioid abuse.
“When children learn positive online behaviors early on, social media can be used in productive ways and can affect positive change,” she said during her speech at the White House.
Shows support and compassion in hands-on hurricane relief
During the month of October, Hurricane Michael, a Category 4 storm, came rolling through the Florida Panhandle and caused a lot of devastation, as tens of thousands of homes were destroyed and roads were flooded.
The president and first lady listened to people’s stories as they toured the wreckage, the Associated Press reported.
Accompanied by her husband, Melania handed out bottles of water at an aid distribution center.
Takes initiative to next step — spends time with newborns who suffer from NAS
Continuing her “Be Best” initiative, the first lady has visited several hospitals over the past year where she’s had the opportunity to meet with families who have newborns with neonatal abstinence syndrome, suffering from opioid withdrawal.
When her airplane had minor mechanical issues in October, Melania took the time to visit the intensive care ward at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia.
“As the caretakers of the next generation, it is our responsibility to protect our most valuable and vulnerable — our children,” she said.
Dances her way across Africa — first solo trip as first lady
Melania took her first solo trip as the first lady to Africa, where she had a five-day, four-country tour.
Visiting Ghana, Malawi, Kenya, and Egypt, the first lady was able to share her “Be Best” initiative as she visited a baby clinic and toured a hospital, visited Ghana’s first lady, toured a classroom in Malawi and helped children learn English, danced alongside children, and fed baby elephants.
Cue the lights — White House shines with Melania’s Christmas decoration design
The White House is decked out for the holidays as the decorations, which the first lady designed, line the halls and rooms.
With the “American Treasures” Christmas theme, the decorations are centered around “patriotism” — a tree in the East Wing honors troops, the official White House tree is wrapped in a ribbon that’s embroidered with each state and territory, and the State Dining Room has national symbols on display.
“Our theme honors the heart and spirit of the American people,” Melania said in a statement.
Ready for takeoff — makes history in military aircraft
In December, Melania visited Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, and the USS George H.W. Bush, where she honored the American service members, saying during her speech that “we know that we are free because you are brave.”
“This administration will always stand with the men and women of the United States armed forces,” she said.
The first lady made history during the trip with her “incredible flight” in the Osprey aircraft, the first time a first lady had flown in that type of aircraft.
Continues to make history — the first time a first lady has visited American troops in Iraq
The first lady accompanied her husband to an active combat zone and made history, as it was the first time a first lady visited Iraq since the war began in 2003.
The couple traveled Christmas night to visit with American service members stationed at Al Asad Air Base near Baghdad, where the Trumps were able to meet military leaders as well as shake hands and take photos with the troops. They also visited with hundreds of troops at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on the way back to the U.S.
“I’m very honored to be here tonight,” the first lady said at the base in Iraq, according to the White House. “Thank you for your service, for your sacrifice, and keeping us safe and free. I’m very proud of you.”