Five Presidential Farewell Addresses

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By/Por Ed Madinya

Thoughtful. Kind. Inspiring. Grateful. There have only been five presidential farewell addresses in the past thirty six years. These rare moments sum up a president’s vision during their era. Here is a compilation of the most recent five videos plus a few notable quotes.

Barack H. Obama

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I first came to Chicago when I was in my early 20s, still trying to figure out who I was; still searching for a purpose to my life. It was in neighborhoods not far from here where I began working with church groups in the shadows of closed steel mills. It was on these streets where I witnessed the power of faith, and the quiet dignity of working people in the face of struggle and loss. This is where I learned that change only happens when ordinary people get involved, get engaged, and come together to demand it.

After eight years as your president, I still believe that. And it’s not just my belief. It’s the beating heart of our American idea – our bold experiment in self-government.

“It’s the conviction that we are all created equal, endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

George W. Bush

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I have confidence in the promise of America because I know the character of our people. This is a nation that inspires immigrants to risk everything for the dream of freedom. This is a nation where citizens show calm in times of danger and compassion in the face of suffering.

We see examples of America’s character all around us. And Laura and I have invited some of them to join us in the White House this evening.

We see America’s character in Dr. Tony Recasner, a principal who opened a new charter school from the ruins of Hurricane Katrina. We see it in Julio Medina, a former inmate who leads a faith-based program to help prisoners returning to society. We see it in Staff Sergeant Aubrey McDade, who charged into an ambush in Iraq and rescued three of his fellow Marines. We see America’s character in Bill Krissoff, a surgeon from California. His son Nathan, a Marine, gave his life in Iraq. When I met Dr. Krissoff and his family, he delivered some surprising news: He told me he wanted to join the Navy Medical Corps in honor of his son. This good man was 60 years old – 18 years above the age limit. But his petition for a waiver was granted, and for the past year he has trained in battlefield medicine. Lieutenant Commander Krissoff could not be here tonight, because he will soon deploy to Iraq, where he will help save America’s wounded warriors and uphold the legacy of his fallen son.

In citizens like these, we see the best of our country – resilient and hopeful, caring and strong. These virtues give me an unshakable faith in America. We have faced danger and trial, and there is more ahead. But with the courage of our people and confidence in our ideals, this great nation will never tire … never falter … and never fail.

Bill Clinton

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We must remember that America cannot lead in the world unless here at home we weave the threads of our coat of many colors into the fabric of one America. As we become ever more diverse, we must work harder to unite around our common values and our common humanity.

We must work harder to overcome our differences. In our hearts and in our laws, we must treat all our people with fairness and dignity, regardless of their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation and regardless of when they arrived in our country, always moving toward the more perfect union of our founders’ dreams.

George H. W. Bush

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There is no higher calling, no more honorable choice than the one that you here today have made. To join the Armed Forces is to be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for your country and for your fellow man.

What you have done, what you are doing, sends an important message, one that I fear sometimes gets lost amidst today’s often materialist, self-interested culture. It is important to remember, it is important to demonstrate that there is a higher purpose to life beyond one’s self.

Now, I speak of family, of community, of ideals. I speak of duty, honor, country.

There are many forms of contributing to this country, of public service. Yes, there is government. There is voluntarism. I love to talk about the thousand Points of Light, one American helping another. The daily tasks that require doing in our classrooms, in our hospitals, our cities, our farms, all can and do represent a form of service. In whatever form, service benefits our society, and it ennobles the giver. It is a cherished American concept, one we should continue to practice and pass on to our children.

Ronald Reagan

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“I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind, it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind swept, God blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace – a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors, and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.”

 

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