First lady Michelle Obama continued the tradition of inviting notable guests to sit with her in the House Gallery for the State of the Union.
Her guests included two service members, military spouses and Americans whom the White House wanted to highlight for their work as an entrepreneurs or community activists.
Sgts. Kimberly Munley and Mark Todd, civilian members of the Ft. Hood police force who stopped the deadly rampage on the Texas military base on Nov. 5, attended tonight's speech and sitting with the first lady.
Also in attendance were Ambassador Raymond Joseph, Haiti's ambassador to the United States; Rebecca Knerr, wife of Captain II Joseph Knerr, leader of Fairfax County's Va.'s Task Force 1 serving in Haiti; and two college students who participated in the White House's D.C. Scholars program as high school students.
One of those students, Clayton Armstrong, said he almost missed the White House call.
"English class was just ending," the college freshman told ABC News. The caller "asked me if I would be able to come back to D.C." from the University of Arizona. "The first lady is inviting you to sit with her in the box" for the State of the Union address.
Armstrong was stunned silent.
"He wanted to make sure I was still on the phone," Armstrong said. "My heart was pounding the rest of the day."
Armstrong and the second student, Janelle Holloway, a freshman at Harvard, are both products of troubled Washington, D.C., public high schools. Both beat the odds and made it to college, and both held White House internships last summer.
Holloway's work on the correlation between abused children and teen violence caught the eye of the West Wing's Domestic Policy Council.
ABC News' Ann Compton and Sunlen Miller contributed to this report.