With the State of the Union a day away, you might be wondering about the event's guest list. According to a press release from the White House, Donald Trump and Melania Trump will have all sorts of guests at the SOTU. From a welder, military members, a fire prevention technician, an aviation technician, and more, the guest list seems to have a variety of people. Among them is Melania Trump's SOTU guest, Preston Sharp.
You may not have heard of Sharp, who is an 11-year-old with a passion for honoring the United States' military. The young boy first gained national fame in June 2017. Sharp had visited his grandfather's grave in Redding, California, in 2015 and realized something that disappointed him. Sharp's mother told CBS News that the young boy became saddened when he noticed that not all of the graves for the veterans had flowers. His mother said he seemed disappointed. She told CBS News that he should do something about it. She said,
And I was like, 'Son, if you're going to complain about something, you have to do something about it or let it go.' And he's like, 'Well, I'm going to do something about it, mom.'
Sharp took his mother's advice to his heart.
After she suggested her son to do something about honoring veterans, she learned that Sharp had saved up money through donations and wanted to use his savings to buy flowers for the soldiers in the Redding graveyard. His mother told CBS News that Sharp's campaign took off and ended up covering 23,000 graves.
Sharp's display of devotion for the American military was praised by observers. One veteran, Fred Loveland, who was deployed in Vietnam told CbS News, "It's just amazing. What he's doing brings them out, because they can't believe that a young man in this country is doing what he does."
A year later, Sharp is nationally known for his passionate reverence for the American military. In the White House press release, Melania's young guest was introduced in highly positive words:
Preston Sharp was visiting his veteran grandfather’s grave in 2015, when he noticed that other local veterans’ graves were not being honored with American flags or flowers. Today, Preston has organized the placement of more than 40,000 American flags and red carnations on soldiers’ graves, as part of his goal to honor veterans in all 50 states and to challenge others to join the Flag and Flower Challenge (#FandFChallenge).
Sharp will join others on Tuesday night to attend the State of the Union. Other guests include Corey Adams, a welder who works in Dayton, Ohio, and retired corporal Matthew Bradford who was deployed in Iraq in 2006. During his mission in Iraq, Bradford was wounded by an improvised explosive device (IED) and lost both eyes as well as his legs. In addition to Adams and Bradford, Sharp will be joined by David Dahlberg who is a fire prevention technician from California.
If you want to learn more about the First Lady's little guest, you can check out Sharp's social media hashtag campaign known as #FandFChallenge. Sharp's challenge followed simple rules. Observers were asked to go to veteran cemeteries, check if there were overlooked and neglected graves that needed a bit of attention, and then were requested to place flowers or the American flags at the stone while removing any debris like leaves or rocks from the grave. The campaign, otherwise known as Flower and Flag Challenge, pleasantly surprised many on social media and was picked up by news outlets instantly. It looks like Sharp's devotion to the American military really impressed the White House.