I expected to be emotional, but by the end of his speech, I burst out into a full-blown ugly cry. The sounds of the crowd chanting, “Four more years!” to the random, “We love you Obama!”…extremely heart-swelling. Emotional indeed…..
“Michelle and I have been so touched by all the well wishes that we’ve received over the past few weeks. But tonight, it’s my turn to say thanks.”
This has been quite a journey and pleasure having the Obamas in the White House. Nobody is perfect, and whether or not you agree with his policies, something positive within these last 8 years is sure to have stuck with you. I’m sure of it.
“I first came to Chicago when I was in my early 20s. And I was still trying to figure out who I was, still searching for a purpose in my life. And it was a neighborhood not far from here where I began working with church groups in the shadows of closed steel mills. It was on these streets where I witnessed the power of faith, and the quiet dignity of working people in the face of struggle and loss.”
In his final address, he went out with a bang – giving heavy warnings, but also sprinkling a bit of optimism into the fold. Perhaps, the most important message that resonated on so many hearts and minds was the call to action.
“Change only happens when ordinary people get involved and they get engaged, and they come together to demand it.”
This direct call, engrained in his overarching theme of progress, was a further reminder that the hard work is not over. While we’ve made some strides, there is still a long way to go. With the political climate taking a turn, he urged Americans to keep an open mind in fighting for what is right and not give in to the narrative of fear.
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” – Atticus Finch
Concerning immigration, voter laws, women’s rights, the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) and more, he made the most urgent point that things will not work unless we do.
And this is where the real waterworks began…The beautiful dedications to his wife and daughters:
“Michelle — Michelle LaVaughn Robinson, girl of the South Side — for the past 25 years, you have not only been my wife and mother of my children, you have been my best friend. You took on a role you didn’t ask for and you made it your own, with grace and with grit and with style and good humor. You made the White House a place that belongs to everybody. And the new generation sets its sights higher because it has you as a role model. So, you have made me proud. And you have made the country proud.”
“Malia and Sasha, under the strangest of circumstances, you have become two amazing young women. You are smart and you are beautiful, but more importantly, you are kind and you are thoughtful and you are full of passion. You wore the burden of years in the spotlight so easily. Of all that I’ve done in my life, I am most proud to be your dad.”
It has been a pleasure watching Sasha and Malia grow up right before our eyes, the endless displays of love and affection between POTUS and FLOTUS, the hilarious bromance of VP Biden and POTUS and the undeniable admiration for the First Family. We thank you for sharing yourselves with us.
— The First Lady (@FLOTUS) January 11, 2017
Before wrapping up, he thanks his right-hand man, VP Biden and his lovely wife, Dr. Jill Biden. He shouts out his talented and committed staff of rockstars and…he shouted us out.
“And to all of you out there — every organizer who moved to an unfamiliar town, every kind family who welcomed them in, every volunteer who knocked on doors, every young person who cast a ballot for the first time, every American who lived and breathed the hard work of change — you are the best supporters and organizers anybody could ever hope for, and I will be forever grateful. Because you did change the world. You did.”
To the younger Americans, he urged them to remain steadfast. And for as long as they remain confident, unselfish, vigilant and innovative…our future will be in very good hands.
“My fellow Americans, it has been the honor of my life to serve you. I won’t stop. In fact, I will be right there with you, as a citizen, for all my remaining days. But for now, whether you are young or whether you’re young at heart, I do have one final ask of you as your President — the same thing I asked when you took a chance on me eight years ago. I’m asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change — but in yours. I am asking you to hold fast to that faith written into our founding documents; that idea whispered by slaves and abolitionists; that spirit sung by immigrants and homesteaders and those who marched for justice; that creed reaffirmed by those who planted flags from foreign battlefields to the surface of the moon; a creed at the core of every American whose story is not yet written: Yes, we can.”
View his full address (grab your tissues):