When I was in second grade, I watched the Inauguration of Barack Obama with my classmates. The eight years that have gone by between then and now make up more than half of my young life. I am thankful for the example he has made for the millions of young people like me. For us, he has been a Teacher-in-Chief.
By changing our relationship with Cuba for the better, securing an Iran Nuclear Deal that stopped a lethal danger, supporting Israel with the largest aid package in history, and securing a climate change agreement that has the potential to protect our planet from human mistakes, he taught us that, yes, we can make this world better but that a brighter world is not possible without American leadership.
By visiting Hiroshima and Pearl Harbor with the Prime Minister of Japan, he taught us that, yes, we can move beyond a tragic past if we have a moral imagination.
By making the Armed Forces a place where brave Americans can serve the nation they love while being open about who they love, he taught us that, yes, we can make the world’s greatest military even better. (And by making combat roles open to women, he reminded us that women are at least as strong as men.)
By singing Amazing Grace in Charleston, he taught us that, yes, we can overcome the most horrid acts of evil if we are willing to stay true to what’s right and fight (and sing) for what’s good.
By living in the house he’s lived in and holding the office he’s held, he taught us that, yes, we can achieve what those who lived before us couldn’t, because progress isn’t just possible—it’s real.
For all these things and more, he has taught us so much. Thanks to him, we now know that, yes, we can. Thank you, Mr. President, for starting off our civic lives with hope and love and pride.