Society

Obama Pens Farewell Thank You Letter To America

| by Lauren Briggs

Before officially leaving his position as president of the United States, President Barack Obama had one last message for Americans on Jan. 19: an expression of gratitude and a call to action.

"I've seen you, the American people, in all your decency, determination, good humor, and kindness," Obama wrote in the letter posted to the official White House website. "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."

Obama explained that the sitting president traditionally writes a letter for the incoming leader of the nation, which he will do for President-elect Donald Trump, who becomes president on Jan. 20. But before leaving that note, he said that he wanted to thank the American people for making him "a better President" and "a better man."

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Looking back on his eight years in office, Obama reflected on passing the Affordable Care Act and the Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage, as well as low points in his presidency, such as the Charleston shooting and the economic crash that he said brought out the "goodness, resilience, and hope" in Americans.

"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."

Though many high-profile Democrats have said that they will not show up to Trump's Jan. 20 inauguration in protest, Obama and his wife, Michelle, will be in attendance, according to Real Clear Politics.

"When the arc of progress seems slow, remember: America is not the project of any one person," Obama added in the letter. "The single most powerful word in our democracy is the word 'We.' 'We the People.' 'We shall overcome.'"

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He concluded the note with his 2008 campaign slogan: "Yes, we can."

Sources: White House, Real Clear Politics / Photo credit: The White House/Flickr

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