The story behind Michelle Obama's state dinner dress makes it even more stunning.

For the very last time, President Obama and the first lady hosted a state dinner in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 18, 2016.

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They graciously welcomed Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his wife, Agnese Landini, to the White House with open arms.

Photo by Yuri Gripas/AFP/Getty Images.


And the two power couples showed the world why diplomacy is certainly the most fashionable way to go about foreign policy, that's for sure.

Photo by Yuri Gripas/AFP/Getty Images.

Unsurprisingly, however, it was FLOTUS' dress that really got people talking.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

Because, yes, it was downright stunning.

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But the story behind why the first lady chose to wear it makes it an even more beautiful look.

The dress by Donatella Versace — who famously rescued her brother's company and turned it into a thriving Italian brand amid doubts she'd be able to do so — was a nod to the visiting prime minister and his wife. But Michelle Obama's choice to wear the rose gold shimmering waterfall of a gown had an even more underlying feminist message behind it, according to The New York Times.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

Michelle Obama's dress was made of chainmail — metal armor, essentially. And that speaks volumes about the type of message she wanted to send.

The gown was symbolic of female strength — a testament to the resiliency of a woman willing to fight for her beliefs and protect herself from bullies that might come along the way.

"When they go low, we go high," the first lady said on stage at the Democratic National Convention this past summer.

Her dress from Tuesday night summed that message up quite nicely.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

The first lady rocked the Versace gown in the wake of what's being called "the most powerful speech of the 2016 campaign" — an address she gave to voters in New Hampshire about the dire need to respect girls and women.

“I can’t stop thinking about this," she said during her speech, citing Donald Trump's discussion of sexual assault caught on tape. "It has shaken to me to my core in a way that I couldn’t have predicted.”

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

"I have to tell you that I listen to all of this and I feel it so personally, and I’m sure that many of you do too, particularly the women," the first lady said. "The shameful comments about our bodies. The disrespect of our ambitions and intellect. The belief that you can do anything you want to a woman."

“I know it’s a campaign, but this isn’t about politics. It’s about basic human decency. It’s about right and wrong,” she concluded. “And we simply cannot endure this, or expose our children to this any longer — not for another minute, and let alone for four years. Now is the time for all of us to stand up and say enough is enough."

Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images.

Like other first ladies before her, Michelle Obama often wears gowns that send a message above and beyond aesthetics.

Her royal blue dress at the Democratic National Convention, for example, was designed by Christian Siriano, an artist recognized for body positivity and inclusiveness within the fashion industry. Its sentiments fell in line with her powerful speech illustrating the value of national togetherness.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

In 2009, when she wore a white gown by designer Jason Wu to the president's Inaugural Ball, it was chosen as a show of hope and refreshed optimism — turning the page, in a sense, as the country struggled to climb out of the Great Recession.

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Michelle Obama's last state dinner is a tough pill to swallow for the many Americans who saw her as so much more than your standard first lady.

Much like her dress for this last state dinner, Obama's time in the White House represents what many of us aspire to be: strong, hopeful, and, even in the face of the most difficult of circumstances, having the ability to stay true to yourself.

Writing for The New York Times magazine, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie perfectly explained how the first lady's grit and resolve in the face of opposition shaped her into nothing short of an icon:

"The insults, those barefaced and those adorned as jokes, the acidic scrutiny, the manufactured scandals, the base questioning of legitimacy, the tone of disrespect, so ubiquitous, so casual. She had faced them, and sometimes she hurt and sometimes she blinked, but throughout, she remained herself."

Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images.

So, yeah. After eight years of being the first lady, chain mail was the perfect choice.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less