President Barack Obama wrote a final letter to the American people on Thursday morning, expressing his gratitude to the United States.
In the letter, Obama noted: “It’s a long-standing tradition for the sitting president of the United States to leave a parting letter in the Oval Office for the American elected to take his or her place. It’s a letter meant to share what we know, what we’ve learned, and what small wisdom may help our successor bear the great responsibility that comes with the highest office in our land, and the leadership of the free world.”
“I wanted to say one final thank you for the honor of serving as your 44th. Because all that I’ve learned in my time in office, I’ve learned from you. You made me a better President, and you made me a better man,” he wrote in the letter, which was posted on the White House’s website.
“Throughout these eight years, you have been the source of goodness, resilience, and hope from which I’ve pulled strength. I’ve seen neighbors and communities take care of each other during the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes. I have mourned with grieving families searching for answers—and found grace in a Charleston church.”
Obama also attempted to call on both Democrats and Republicans to put aside partisan differences.
“All of us, regardless of party, should throw ourselves into that work—the joyous work of citizenship. Not just when there’s an election, not just when our own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime,” he wrote. “I’ll be right there with you every step of the way.”
The president ended his letter with one of his original campaign slogans, “Yes we can.”
President Obama handed over power to President-elect Donald Trump at midday on Jan. 20.