With all the problems in the world — and with politicians giving all those speeches — doesn’t it feel good to do the work? Just stop whining and roll up your sleeves! One million meals have just left the stadium. We’re feeding the hungry in 11 cities.
There are churches that can worship again when it rains, because we – YOU – put a roof up. The elderly, the lonely, those who are afraid. We said to them: Be not afraid! For we are with you and we will be your shelter — shelter from the storm.
Those who came with your parents. I want you to get used to seeing them in action. And tell your parents this: “Mom, Dad…I liked doing this. I liked YOU doing this. And I don’t want this to be a one-day thing.” Hold each other to that promise. Because this is your inheritance.
This whole event is about you. We did this for you. It’s about what you watch on TV, it’s about your music, movies and school. It’s about your America — the America we are building for you. Right now.
We talked tonight about America’s history, the pilgrims, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King — and these men, they are part of history.
And you may be thinking…that’s history! I hate history! All those guys are DEAD! But that’s not true. History is always alive. History breathes. It doesn’t belong behind glass. It belongs to you. History is where we learn who we really are.
Everything we have — everything we enjoy — was done by someone else before we were born. The America we have today is what someone else created for us. We inherited America — this America — from our parents and grandparents. What we have, they built.
We can’t be blamed for what they did wrong. And we can’t take credit for what they did right. We didn’t fight their wars. We didn’t march with them. We didn’t build the schools. That was done for us. And we will do that for our children.
That’s how an inheritance works. You can’t control what you get from your parents, but you can shape what you leave behind. If you get an inheritance you can improve on it or you can spend it.
The story of America is filled with great families. The Rockefellers. The Carnegies. The Vanderbilts. Some have grown in prosperity. Some have spent it all. In Newport, the mansions sit high on cliffs. But the families that built them can’t afford to live there anymore. They inherited something great, but they lost it all. All they have is their famous names.
If this can happen to a great family, it can happen to a great country. We must not become America in name only. We must always strive to be a great country.
We don’t have to spend our inheritance. We can build on it. Invest it. Improve it. Make it bigger and better. That’s your choice. It’s our choice. Our inheritance is America. And we have to decide: Are we going to spend it all? Or will we make the dream bigger?
Tonight, I charge each of you with a mission. No matter your age. No matter how you got here — or how far you traveled. A mission. To act. To commit. To shape the future.
To do one pure thing: Make America better than it is today. Build a bigger inheritance, do what we’re supposed to do for our children. Every generation of America faces this challenge. Every generation. Some succeed. And some fail. Those who have failed, failed because they waited for someone else to act. They found out much too late that
When you wait for someone to help you that someone will show up — and sometimes — they may give you a push. But far too often they will push you around, there is a difference between getting pushed and getting pushed around.
Two results. Two choices. For two types of people. There ARE two kinds of Americans. Not Democrats and Republicans. Not God-fearing and God-doubting. Bigger than those differences. Much bigger.
I think there are two kinds of Americans. Those who like to be pushed. And those who push themselves. Those who see our problems and refuse to see our blessings. And those who see our problems as our blessings.
Tonight, I ask you: Which are you? Where do you stand? With those who like to be pushed? Or those who push themselves?
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