If you’re going to change the world, start with serving your community. No matter what you’re trying to accomplish, lending a hand and listening to your neighbor will make you a better leader—and a better person. That’s why, as part of the @ObamaFoundationLeaders: Africa program, hundreds of regional leaders spent the day painting murals, gardening, and putting together gift packs for students in need at a local school in Johannesburg. These folks make me so proud.
Happy Fourth of July, everybody! This is always a great day in the Obama family: a chance to celebrate America—and Malia’s birthday, too. Hope all of you are able to get some time with friends, family, and fireworks.
In my farewell address in Chicago three years ago, I said something I still firmly believe today: Being a citizen is the most important job in our democracy. If you’re tired of politicians manipulating electoral maps and ignoring the will of voters, I hope you’ll exercise your power as a citizen by signing @allontheline’sCitizen Commitment today.
50 years ago, history was written at the Stonewall Inn when New York City’s LGBT community stood up, spoke out, and started a movement. In 2016, I was proud to designate it as our first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights. Stonewall reminds us the arc of our history is an arc of progress so long as we keep pushing for it.
Outside the Oval Office, I kept a painting of a small crowd huddled around a pocketwatch, waiting for the moment the Emancipation Proclamation took effect. On Juneteenth, we celebrate the anniversary of that news - freedom - reaching slaves in Texas. And something more: On Juneteenth, we celebrate our capacity to make real the promise of our founding, that thing inside each of us that says America is not yet finished, that compels all of us to fight for justice and equality until this country we love more closely aligns with our highest ideals.
As we commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, I'm thinking about all the young troops who faced down impossible odds that day – some of whom I actually got to meet on my own visits to Normandy. I’m also thinking about my grandfather. Though Gramps arrived at Omaha Beach weeks after D-Day, I remember how much I missed him during my visit five years ago – I wanted to have him right there with me, to hear his stories, to share the experience. But I was lucky to spend time with “Rock” Merritt who, as a younger man, saw a recruitment poster asking him if he was man enough to be a paratrooper — and signed up on the spot. All these years later, Rock is best-known not just for his exploits on D-Day, or for his decades in uniform, but for the time he’s spent speaking to the young men and women of today’s Army. Five years ago today, at Omaha Beach – democracy’s beachhead – I spoke about the debt we owe Rock and his fellow veterans who risked and gave their lives in defense of democracy.
On Friday, I had a chance to meet with some inspiring young leaders from around the world who were in Ottawa last week for the Open Government Partnership Global Summit. From Kyrgyzstan to Argentina, we're seeing a new generation taking the reins to empower others and harness new technologies for smarter, better government. It's inspiring—the kind of thing that will create a better world for all of us.
On Memorial Day, we remember all those who gave everything for something greater than themselves. It's up to us to not simply reflect on their sacrifice but to honor it with service of our own—and by living out the values they fought for.
Great to get out there and take a few cuts at the plate yesterday—I had a blast with all these extraordinary young people. Thanks for letting me drop in and thanks to the Nationals Youth Academy for the outstanding work you do to support youth in DC. Video: @natsacademy