Barack Obama rose to power as America’s first African American president with messages of hope and optimism for the future.
On Tuesday, he delivered a farewell address in the city that launched his political career to comfort and encourage a country facing uncertain change. He became urgent as he talked of needing to ‘guard against a weakening of the values that make us who we are’.
But while addressing a nation is first and foremost his duty, the president took time to thank his wife and ‘brother’: Michelle and Joe Biden.
Obama only had to say the word ‘Michelle’ to have the crowd on its feet, giving the first lady perhaps the most moving standing ovation she’s received in the eight years since entering the White House.
“You took on a role you didn’t ask for and made it your own with grace and grit and style and good humor,” Obama said while praising the first lady for taking on her role ‘with grace and grit and style and good humour’ and for making the White House ‘a place that belongs to everybody.’
And while it’s rare for Obama to cry publicly, the president had a hard time holding back tears.
Then came Joe Biden.
To Joe Biden, the scrappy kid from Scranton who became Delaware’s favorite son: you were the first decision I made as a nominee, and the best.
Not just because you have been a great Vice President, but because in the bargain, I gained a brother.
It was a moving end to the pair’s professional relationship – and a surprising one, given that the pair once strongly disliked each other.
Skip to 17:00 to see the president’s full address:
In his closing comments to Biden, Obama said: “We love you and Jill like family, and your friendship has been one of the great joys of our life.”
The president also addressed his daughters, Malia and Sasha.
You have become two amazing young women, smart and beautiful, but more importantly, kind and thoughtful and full of passion. You wore the burden of years in the spotlight so easily. Of all that I’ve done in my life, I’m most proud to be your dad.
Along with Michelle, Malia, Joe Biden and half of America, the Internet couldn’t help but hold back tears.
Obama is crying Michelle is crying malia is crying Biden is crying I’m crying
— darany (@dnyvni) January 11, 2017
Michelle in tears
Malia in tears
Half of America in tears
Fam I’m in tears
Pops, Moms in tears
Obama don’t go.
— Sam da Shero (@foundintellect) January 11, 2017
And it became pretty clear what everyone wants:
i’m really gonna miss Michelle Obama, man. she sounds like all the women who ever believed in me whenever she speaks.
— Nathan Zed (@NathanZed) January 11, 2017
Remember when we complained about Michelle Obama pushing for healthier lunches &taking away vending machines, now look at us ungrateful kids pic.twitter.com/jigsJXb7qM
— MaKayla (@MakaylaMashelle) January 11, 2017
President Michelle Obama 2021-2029
President Sasha Obama
President Malia Obama
2037-2045 #ObamaFarewell yall ain’t going
— OG Petty Wap (@ogsammiegee) January 11, 2017
Unsurprisingly, vice-president Joe Biden joined others in the crowd crying during and after Obama’s final speech.