President Barack Obama signed off with a note of optimism at the end of his farewell address in Chicago Tuesday night, rounding out an emotive speech with an appeal to the country’s young and young at heart.
After a few heartwarming words to his family, Vice President Joe Biden and the White House staff, Obama turned his gratitude to the organizers and voters that played a role in electing him eight years ago, and again in 2012. The President said he would leave the political stage “even more optimistic about this country than when we started.”
“Let me tell you, this generation coming up — unselfish, altruistic, creative, patriotic — I’ve seen you in every corner of the country,” Obama said to applause. “You’ll soon outnumber any of us, and I believe as a result the future is in good hands.”
While Obama will be leaving the White House after serving eight years as America’s first African American President, he won’t be leaving service, he said, vowing to be “right there with you, as a citizen” for his remaining days. He then had one request of U.S. citizens, “whether you are young or whether you are young at heart.”
“I am asking you to believe,” Obama said, “Not in my ability to bring about change — but in yours.”
As America prepares for a new style of leadership under the next President, Donald Trump, the outgoing chief pointed to the past as a reminder of progress.
“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. Yes, we did. Yes, we can.”
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