President Barack Obama returned to Chicago Tuesday night to deliver his farewell address in the place where his political journey began.
In a tradition that goes back to the nation’s first president, an emotional President Obama reflected on his origins in Chicago as a community organizer. He told the vocal crowded of more than 20,000 supporters, who interrupted his speech with a chant of “four more years,” that he still has faith in his message of hope and change.
President Obama is turning over the reins of power to a solidly conservative Congress and Republican successor in the White House. Many liberals still feel the sting from a stunning defeat at the polls in November. But he urged Democrats to stay involved and not lose their commitment to progressive change.
He also warned the nation to “guard against a weakening of the values that make us who we are” as a nation.
“It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy,” President Obama said. “Embrace the joyous task we have been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours because, for all our outward differences, we in fact all share the same proud type, the most important office in a democracy, citizen.”
The nation’s first Black president also addressed the nation’s race issue. Looking back, he said it was premature to declare in 2008 that his election marked the beginning of a post-racial America.
“Such a vision, however well intended, was never realistic. Race remains a potent, and often divisive, force in our society,” the president declared.
All sides of the racial divide must move toward the center. Minorities may look at middle-aged White men and believe they have all “all the advantages.” But in reality, many of them have “seen their world upended by economic, and cultural, and technological change.”
And White Americans, he said, must realize that the effects of slavery and discrimination against African-Americans didn’t end in the 1960s during the civil rights era.
“When they wage peaceful protest, they’re not demanding special treatment, but the equal treatment that our founders promised,” the president explained.
Emotions in the auditorium reached a peak when the president thanked First Lady Michelle Obama for her love and support.
“You took on a role you didn’t ask for,” the president told his wife, as his voice shuddered slightly. “And you made it your own with grace and with grit and with style, and good humor.”
Happy Birthday, Barack Obama: Photos That Will Make You Miss Your Favorite President
1. Barack Gives Daughter Malia a KissSource:Getty 1 of 29
2. Michelle and Barack tell the kids a storySource:Getty 2 of 29
3. Michelle and Barack KissSource:Getty 3 of 29
4. Michelle and BarackSource:Getty 4 of 29
5. First Family PortraitSource:Getty 5 of 29
6. Two TermsSource:Getty 6 of 29
7. Michelle and Barack host a State DinnerSource:Getty 7 of 29
8. Barack Obama and Michelle ObamaSource:Getty 8 of 29
9. Sunday ChurchSource:Getty 9 of 29
10. Barack Obama and his daughter Malia ObamaSource:Getty 10 of 29
11. A Family AffairSource:Getty 11 of 29
12. Flashback To The Old DaysSource:Pete Souza 12 of 29
13. Happy Birthday!Source:Getty 13 of 29
14. Candidly AwesomeSource:Pete Souza 14 of 29
15. Historic First FamilySource:Getty 15 of 29
16. Ice Cream TreatSource:Getty 16 of 29
17. TV TimeSource:Pete Souza 17 of 29
18. Hawaii Trip!Source:Getty 18 of 29
19. Obama Loves Team USA & His WifeSource:Getty 19 of 29
20. Reading TimeSource:Pete Souza 20 of 29
21. Family SupportSource:Getty 21 of 29
22. Supporting MomSource:Pete Souza 22 of 29
23. Giving Back On MLK DaySource:Getty 23 of 29
24. Obamas Give Back To The CommunitySource:Getty 24 of 29
25. Always Supporting Small BusinessesSource:Getty 25 of 29
26. Obama SwaggerSource:Getty 26 of 29
27. Laughs & TurkeysSource:Getty 27 of 29
28. Christmas With The ObamasSource:Getty 28 of 29
29. 50th Anniversary Of March On SelmaSource:Pete Souza 29 of 29
‘Yes, We Did’: Obama Delivers Moving Farewell Speech was originally published on newsone.com