President Obama visits the Community Children’s Center in Lawrence, Kan.– one of the nation’s oldest Head Start providers. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Audience members listen to President Obama as he delivers remarks at a rally on health insurance reform at the Comcast Center, University of Maryland in College Park, Md., Sept. 17, 2009.
President Obama bends over so the son of a White House staff member can pat his head during a family visit to the Oval Office May 8, 2009.
The White House lit with the colors of the rainbow in celebration of the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, June 26, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama and the First Lady join hands with Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. as they lead the walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday.
U.S. Army Ranger Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg and his father Craig Remsburg greets President Obama at Cory’s newly finished home in Gilbert, Ariz., March 13, 2015.
A soldier hugs the President as he greeted U.S. troops at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Following the mass shooting at a church in Charleston, S.C., that claimed nine lives, the President pauses while giving the eulogy at the funeral of one of the victims, Reverend Clementa Pinckney.
President Obama fist-bumps the robotic arm of Nathan Copeland during a tour at the White House Frontiers Conference at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pa., Oct. 13, 2016.
President Obama fist-bumps a medical professional in the Green Room of the White House, prior to a health care event, March 3, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
It’s a long-standing tradition for the sitting president of the United States to leave a parting letter in the Oval Office for the American elected to take his or her place. It’s a letter meant to share what we know, what we’ve learned, and what small wisdom may help our successor bear the great responsibility that comes with the highest office in our land, and the leadership of the free world.
But before I leave my note for our 45th president, I wanted to say one final thank you for the honor of serving as your 44th. Because all that I’ve learned in my time in office, I’ve learned from you. You made me a better President, and you made me a better man.
Throughout these eight years, you have been the source of goodness, resilience, and hope from which I’ve pulled strength. I’ve seen neighbors and communities take care of each other during the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes. I have mourned with grieving families searching for answers – and found grace in a Charleston church.
I’ve taken heart from the hope of young graduates and our newest military officers. I’ve seen our scientists help a paralyzed man regain his sense of touch, and wounded warriors once given up for dead walk again. I’ve seen Americans whose lives have been saved because they finally have access to medical care, and families whose lives have been changed because their marriages are recognized as equal to our own. I’ve seen the youngest of children remind us through their actions and through their generosity of our obligations to care for refugees, or work for peace, and, above all, to look out for each other.
I’ve seen you, the American people, in all your decency, determination, good humor, and kindness. And in your daily acts of citizenship, I’ve seen our future unfolding.
All of us, regardless of party, should throw ourselves into that work – the joyous work of citizenship. Not just when there’s an election, not just when our own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime.
I’ll be right there with you every step of the way.
And when the arc of progress seems slow, remember: America is not the project of any one person. The single most powerful word in our democracy is the word ‘We.’ ‘We the People.’ ‘We shall overcome.’
Yes, we can.
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President Barack Obama
America’s True President
I will miss President Obama’s grace, intelligence, and class. We will need to draw from his strength to resist fascism. For now, he will remain my president.
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