"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2" was on the big screen, but the big event for Debra Provo was a visit by Michelle Obama.
The first lady addressed a crowd of about 800 before a showing of the latest Harry Potter film at Naval Air Station Oceana on Thursday.
"How often do you get to see the first lady?" said Provo, who lives in Virginia Beach.
The first lady visited a children's summer camp program at the base, where she pitched in creating sets for a production of "Annie" and read the book "Where the Wild Things Are." Then she made an appearance before the film showing, which was part of the "Joining Forces" series of free films for military families.
"We cannot thank you enough for everything that you're doing and the sacrifices that you're making," Obama said during the roughly 10-minute address.
She highlighted some recent efforts to benefit military families. She said her husband directed every federal agency to come up with ideas on how to support military families, which led to 50 recommendations. Private companies such as Walmart have stepped up, seeking to hire former military members and their families. And high schools with large numbers of military students, including some in the Hampton Roads area, will get more advanced placement courses in math and science.
Michelle Obama specifically addressed the children in the audience, telling them that while the lives of military children can be difficult, their experiences will benefit them as they grow up.
"These experiences have made you stronger," she said. "They have made you wiser."
As she wrapped up, she asked how many people in the audience had read all the Harry Potter books or watched all the movies.
"You're right along with the president and my girls," she said, adding that they've already seen the movie.
Provo and her two kids, Eric, 11, and Erin, 14, ducked out before the movie began. They were just there to see the president's wife.
"I think she's a good role model for the children," Provo said.
She saw President Barack Obama on the campaign trail in 2008 but until now had not seen his wife in person. She appreciates the efforts of the first lady and Jill Biden, Vice President Joe Biden's wife, to recognize military families.
"I know what my children have endured with their dad being deployed," Provo said. "We have to put on a lot of hats as a military spouse. It helps to know that others are mindful of what we're going through."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times