Barack Obama's electrifying speech remembered on anniversary of historic election win

'It's been a long time coming, but tonight, change has come to America'

Harriet Agerholm
Sunday 05 November 2017 07:57 EST
Barack Obama's 2008 election victory speech gets re-shared nine years on

Nine years after Barack Obama's election as the 44th President of the United States, supporters of the former leader are sharing footage of the "electrifying" speech he gave marking the historic victory.

Hundreds of thousands gathered in Chicago's Grant Park on 4 November 2008 to hear the then-Senator give his iconic "Yes we can" address.

America's first black President was met with cheers and screams as he recognised the diversity of the electorate who turned out to vote.

"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer," he said.

"It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.

"It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states.

"We are, and always will be, the United States of America."

He later referenced Sam Cooke's song, "A Change is Come", an anthem of the civil rights movement.

"It's been a long time coming," he told the crowd, "but tonight – because of what we did on this date, in this election, at this defining moment – change has come to America."

He ended his speech: "This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope.

"And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can."

Footage of the speech has been shared hundreds of thousands of times on Twitter and Facebook, with many comparing it to addresses delivered by current president, Donald Trump.

One Twitter user, Michael, asked: "Does anyone else watch Obama’s 2008 acceptance speech just because hope is better than today[?]"

Another user, who called himself Robert #Resist Sandy, said: "9 years ago today Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States. It was watershed moment for the nation and world.

"But for my hometown of Chicago it was something more personal, deeper. The energy was unlike anything I've ever experienced in my life.

"Strangers just out of the blue drawn to each other, hugging, crying introducing themselves. Spontaneous applause yelling jumping up and down.

He continued: "I was only a couple hundred yards from the stage on which Barack Obama delivered his speech that night. A speech that electrified the world."

The anniversary of the speech came as Donald Trump embarked his first tour of Asia since becoming head of state.

Mr Trump is set to carry out high-stakes talks with the leaders of Japan, South Korea and China amid heightened tensions around the Korean Peninsula.

The President has traded increasingly bombastic threats with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He called Mr Kim a "little rocket man" and vowed to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea if it continued to threaten the US or its allies.

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