of the most important things I’ve done as President is read messages from
Americans like you. And whether you sat down to write me a letter
back in 2009 or just last week, I wanted to say thank you for writing.
like yours have given me the chance to hear the real stories that make up
the ever changing narrative of America. They are stories of your
setbacks and successes, your fears and your hopes not just for today—but
for the country and the world we’ll leave to our children and our
grandchildren. I want you to know that I was listening.
I heard your stories. And you made me a better President.
2014, a young mom took a chance and shared her family’s story with
me. She said she knew that “staying silent about what you see
and what needs changing never makes any difference.” She was
right. And so, while serving you has been the greatest privilege of
my life, I want you to know that when I leave the White House, I’ll still
hold the most important title of all: that of citizen.
as a proud American citizen, I believe that we are a constant work in
progress. Our success has never been certain. None of our
journey has been preordained. There’s always been a gap between our
highest ideals and the reality we witness every day. But what makes
us exceptional—what makes us Americans—is that we have fought
wars, and passed laws, and reformed systems, and organized unions, and
staged protests, and launched mighty movements to close that gap.
To bring the promise and the practice of America into closer
alignment. To form that more perfect union.
our collective future depends on our collective willingness to uphold our
duties as citizens: to vote, to speak out, and to stand up for
others knowing that each of us is only here because somebody, somewhere,
stood up for us. And for the rest of my days, I promise I will be
right there alongside you, continuing to do my part to build a better,
more prosperous, more diverse and inclusive America—an America with
a future full of hope.
all of us in the Obama family—thank you for writing.