Society
Society

Birthday: Obama Turns 56

| by Robert Fowler

Former President Barack Obama turned 56 years old on Aug. 4, marking his first birthday since leaving the White House. Obama has largely kept out of the public eye since leaving office and is set to spend his birthday vacationing with his family at one of their favorite destinations.

Both former First Lady Michelle Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden took to social media to to celebrate the occasion.

"Another year older, but the same phenomenal guy I married nearly 25 years ago," Michelle Obama tweeted out, sharing an older photo of her husband blowing out birthday candles alongside their daughters, Malia and Sasha Obama. "Happy Birthday, [Barack Obama] -- we love you so much!"

Biden tweeted out a picture of himself and Obama sharing a laugh while seated on an array of chairs.

"Your service has been a great gift to the country, and your friendship and brotherhood are a great gift to me," Biden wrote. Happy Birthday, [Barack Obama]."

Obama and his family will reportedly spend the occasion in the town of Chilmark in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. The family had traveled there to mark Obama's birthday during seven out of the eight years they resided in the White House.

"They're coming in this weekend," general manager Ann Crook of Martha's Vineyard Airport told the MV Times. "I can't get any more specific than that."

"It's an honor for presidents to visit our town, and especially so for the past eight years," said Chilmark selectman Bill Rossi. "Every time the Obamas visit, it's wonderful."

The Secret Service declined to confirm whether the Obamas would vacation in Martha's Vineyard.

Meanwhile, Michelle Obama penned a Obama Foundation email requesting that recipients increase their civic engagement to honor her husband's birthday.

"Maybe that means attending a town or city council meeting," the former first lady wrote, according to The Hill. "Maybe it means contacting one of your elected officials and speaking out about an issue that matters to you. Maybe it means helping to clean up a local park, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or tutoring in an after-school program."

The email continued: "This work -- these personal, local, daily acts of citizenship... is what my husband is all about."

At least two states have commemorated Obama's birthday as a holiday. Both the Delaware and Illinois Legislatures voted to mark Aug. 4 as Obama Day. Neither is a legal holiday, according to The Sacramento Bee.

Obama first burst onto the national scene in 2004 after delivering a keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention, according to CBS.

The future president argued for a more united country in that speech: "I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper -- that makes this country work... there is not a liberal America and a conservative America. There is the United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America. There's the United States of America."

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