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Obama's Farewell Speech Tribute To Michelle, Malia And Sasha Gets People Tearing Up Around The World

We've just got something in our eye.

11/01/2017 08:22

If you’re not yet sad to see Barack Obama leave the White House, this is probably the moment that will do it for you.

Speaking in Chicago in what will be his final speech as president of the United States, Obama urged Americans to protect democracy, to remain “vigilant, but not afraid” and to reject complacency and fear.

But perhaps the most emotional moment of his entire farewell was the moment he turned to address his family.

He first spoke to his wife, saying, “Michelle Robinson, girl of the South Side.

“For the past 25 years, you have not only been my wife and mother of my children, you have been my best friend.

“You took on a role you didn’t ask for and you made it your own with grace and with grit and with grit and with style and good humour.”

He paused to wipe his eyes, before continuing: “You made the White House a place that belongs to everybody and a new generation sets it sights higher because it has you as a role model.

“So you have made me proud and you have made the country proud.”

The roaring crowd gave Michelle a standing ovation.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP
Barack Obama became visibly emotional when he spoke to his family during his farewell speech

Obama next addressed his daughter, Malia, who was sitting with her mother, as well as his daughter Sasha, who was not present because she had an exam the next morning.

He said: “Maria and Sasha, under the strangest of circumstances, you have become two amazing young women.

“You are smart and you are beautiful but more importantly you are kind and you are thoughtful and you are full of passion.

“You wore the burden of years in the spotlight so easily.

“Of all that I have done in my life, I’m most proud to be your dad.”

Many people watching also seemed to feel the emotion of his tributes to his family...

Obama’s address, which lasted for more than 50 minutes, only mentioned Donald Trump by name early in the speech, noting his commitment to the transition of power.

But many of his cautions appeared directed at his successor, particularly his reminder that “democracy can buckle when we give in to fear,” and his apparent references to Trump’s controversial and divisive campaign.

Obama framed his speech as a prescription for democracy. He said threats to the country’s foundation include income inequality, racism and bigotry, political polarisation, the jettisoning of facts and reason in political discourse, and low levels of civic engagement.

Nam Y. Huh/AP
Obama rounded off his speech declaring 'yes we can, yes we did'

He ended his address by urging young people to get involved in politics and public service, just as his historic presidential candidacy in 2008 inspired a generation of public servants and organisers. 

He said: “It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy; to embrace the joyous task we’ve been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours,” he said.

“Because for all our outward differences, we all share the same proud title: Citizen. Ultimately, that’s what our democracy demands. It needs you.”

He signed off: “Yes we can, yes we did, yes we can.

“Thank you, God bless you. May God continue to bless the United States of America.”

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