On Tuesday, in front of a massive crowd of more than 18,000 people in his adopted hometown of Chicago, President Barack Obama gave his farewell address to the nation. In the address, the president touted his accomplishments, warned the country of the threat of extremism, and despotic leaders around the globe, and attempted to inspire hope to get the nation through the struggles that are sure to come.
Like many of his speeches over the past 8 years, President Obama took the opportunity highlight the LGBT community. It is hard to believe that it was just 8 years ago when Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was still in place, LGBT Americans couldn’t marry in most states, weren’t granted federal workplace protections, nor had we ever been recognized in a State of the Union Address.
There were even moments in the address where the Mr. Obama’s emotions were on full display. While thanking the First Lady Michelle Obama, the president removed his pocket square to dab tears out of his eyes. Meanwhile the couples’ oldest daughter Malia was teary eyed throughout much of the address. It was quite a spectacle to watch, leaving many longing for the Obama years as we count the days till his time in the White House is over.
Here are a few highlights from the President’s speech on Tuesday:
…That’s why we cannot withdraw from big global fights — to expand democracy, and human rights, and women’s rights, and LGBT rights. No matter how imperfect our efforts, no matter how expedient ignoring such values may seem, that's part of defending America.
…For blacks and other minority groups, it means tying our own very real struggles for justice to the challenges that a lot of people in this country face — not only the refugee, or the immigrant, or the rural poor, or the transgender American, but also the middle-aged white guy who, from the outside, may seem like he’s got advantages, but has seen his world upended by economic and cultural and technological change. We have to pay attention, and listen.
…For 240 years, our nation’s call to citizenship has given work and purpose to each new generation. It’s what led patriots to choose republic over tyranny, pioneers to trek west, slaves to brave that makeshift railroad to freedom. It’s what pulled immigrants and refugees across oceans and the Rio Grande. (Applause.) It’s what pushed women to reach for the ballot. It’s what powered workers to organize. It’s why GIs gave their lives at Omaha Beach and Iwo Jima, Iraq and Afghanistan. And why men and women from Selma to Stonewall were prepared to give theirs, as well.
Take a look at the entire speech below or click here to read the full transcript of Obama’s remarks.