President Obama: ‘This Day Has Been Long in Coming’

Highlights from the Obama Presidential Center groundbreaking ceremony on Sept. 28/Video courtesy of the Obama Presidential Center.

Remarks by President Obama at the ceremony:

Hello, everybody. This day has been a long time coming. We had originally hoped to hold a bigger, festive event, but the pandemic had other plans, so we’re keeping this small for now. But to everyone who is watching, including so many of you who were part of my administration, so many who’ve worked tirelessly to make this day possible, please know how grateful I am, and how much I’m looking forward to celebrating with all of you in person as soon as we can.

I want to start by thanking Trenton for that outstanding introduction, and Zell for doing such a great job introducing Michelle. (Applause.) I would like Zell also to give me some tips on my golf game. We are so proud of both of you, and I also want to acknowledge a few other people here today who have been so instrumental: Our own governor of Illinois, Governor Pritzker; the mayor of our great city, Mayor Lightfoot; Aldermen Leslie Hairston and Greg Mitchell. (Applause.) Thank you for everything you’ve done to move this project forward.

We are here today on the South Side of Chicago in Jackson Park to officially break ground on the Obama Presidential Center. As Michelle has noted, we chose this location for a few pretty good reasons. It’s close to where Michelle grew up, where I started my political career; it’s surrounded by vibrant neighborhoods and a community where we can help make a difference.

Jackson Park also happens to hold a special place in my heart because it was literally my entryway into Chicago. Read the full text here.

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on stage at the Obama Presidential Center groundbreaking ceremony in Jackson Park in Chicago on Sept. 28./Photo courtesy of the Obama Presidential Center

President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their daughters, Malia, left, and Sasha, right, sit for a family portrait in the Oval Office, December 11, 2011/Photo courtesy of the Barack Obama Presidential Library.
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