President Obama spoke these three words for the first time in January 2008 in New Hampshire. And for the past eight years, these words have served as the backbone of his Presidency: the belief that, through hard work and a commitment to hope, we can make progress possible for the American people.
As we look back at the last eight years, people from across the country (and the globe) are taking some time to reflect on a moment that inspired them to share in this belief, and even to take action in their own communities.
Do you have a memory or moment in mind? Check out the video or read through some of our favorite entries below to get inspired - then share your #YesWeCan moment at wh.gov/farewell.
And don't forget to tune in to hear the President’s grateful farewell to you on Tuesday, January 10.
“Shortly after President Obama was elected, I was traveling near the airport in Columbus, Ohio. Air Force One was there because the President was in the city, and at the gate was an African American father holding his young son on his shoulders. I heard him say, 'That’s the President’s jet, and one day, you can do just want President Obama has done. One day, you can be president!' It brought me to tears. Your time, your spirit, your work, your grace…will forever permeate this country, no matter which political party is in the White House. Thank you.”
—Rev. Susan from Ohio
"My son, and now I, both have health care only because you had the vision and the strength to push it through. Iran doesn’t have nuclear weapons because you had the strength to push through an agreement. You overcame immense odds, bigotry both here and abroad, yet you prevailed."
—Mary from Virginia
"Your stand on climate change inspired me to champion this position in the Forest Service and in my research, writings, and on-the-ground projects. Climate change is one of the most important challenges for the world and your support has been extremely important."
—Randy from Arizona
“The greatest moment of your eight years in office for me was the night that the Supreme Court affirmed all Americans’ right to marry the person they love. My partner and I, who are not yet married but will do so soon, came to the White House to see the rainbow lights projected onto the facade of the President’s House…Your advocacy and leadership on diversity and inclusiveness, respect for all people regardless of their innate characteristics, and you and Mrs. Obama directing that the White House be lighted thusly on that great day in LGBT history was overwhelming to us both.”
—Skip from DC
“My parents are both undocumented immigrants from south of the border who traveled to California where they raised me and I am deeply grateful for them. They came here to give me a better life then what they experienced. What you did these past eight years did give families like mine the opportunity to strive for the American dream. You taught me that change can come if we work hard to make it happen and not by waiting for anybody else to do it for me.”
—Marco from California
“After the horrific massacre of the Emanuel 9 in Charleston, I was fortunate enough to be able to be present at the memorial service in Charleston where President Obama delivered the eulogy. At the time we most needed to hear a message of unity and hope, our President delivered one of the most powerful and moving speeches I have ever heard. I will never forget those moments of hope and grace delivered in one of our darkest hours in our state. Thank you so very much.”
—Lea from South Carolina
"I’m writing from Japan. Mr Obama’s visit to Hiroshima was my most impressive thing last year. I was translating into English the home page of a precision screw maker in Hiroshima early last year. In the history section, the following line appeared, '6 August 1945 Our factories were annihilated by the atomic bomb.' "I was born right after the war and I vaguely remember as a small child that war debris was strewn in vacant lots, we were poorly dressed and food was not sufficient. I thought of the people who rose from the ashes to rebuild Japan. Sometime after I finished my translation, Mr. Obama came to Hiroshima. We have come a long way. A way to a better world. Thank you."
—Ichiro from Japan