Classic Pete Souza Pics That Will Increase Your Obama Separation Anxiety
Tonight is the night.
This family. What can I say. What an honor to have photographed them for eight years. A couple of months ago, the Social Office came to me and said they were thinking of using a family photo for this year's White House holiday card. So I thought of Justin Trudeau. I know you're wondering what the heck I'm talking about. Earlier this year we hosted the Canadian Prime Minister for a formal State Dinner. Malia and Sasha attended as guests. Before the dinner, I did a family photo in the White House residence. But later, when the Trudeaus arrived, the two families spent some time on the Truman Balcony with their respective delegations. At one point, the Prime Minister asked if we could do a photo of he and his wife with the Obama family. Click, click, click. Then, he said I should do a photo of just the Obama's. I could have said, "sir we already did one before you arrived." But instead, I clicked off a few quick frames. And lo and behold, it was this picture that Justin Trudeau asked me to take which everyone loved as the choice for the 2016 White House holiday card.
While the Obamas have just a little more time left in the White House (about 10 days), President Obama is making his final address to the American people this evening. He’s making that speech in Chicago, live at 9 p.m. (EST), where his political ambitions really blossomed.
On Facebook, President Obama shared this message in preparation for his speech, which is sure to leave all of us singing “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday“:
For Michelle and me, Chicago is where it all started. It’s the city that showed us the power and fundamental goodness of the American people.
It’s that inherent strength that brought our country through our fair share of challenges these last eight years. Because of you, we’ve come through them stronger. Because of you, we’ve held to a belief that has guided us ever since our founding – our conviction that, together, we can change this country for the better.
It’s easy to lose sight of that in the blizzard of our minute-to-minute Washington news cycles. But America is a story told not minute to minute, but generation to generation – a story written by parents, and teachers, and veterans, and neighbors who’ve taken on the call of citizenship, working together, without fanfare, to form a more perfect union.
Over the course of my life, I’ve been reminded time and again that change can happen – that ordinary people can come together to achieve extraordinary things. And I’ve seen that truth up close over these last eight years.
We’ve made America a better, stronger place for the generations that will follow. We’ve run our leg in a long relay of progress, knowing that our work will always be unfinished. And we’ve reaffirmed the belief that we can make a difference with our own hands, in our own time. That’s the imperative of citizenship – the idea that, with hard work, and a generous heart toward our fellow Americans, people who love their country can change it.
So tonight, I’m returning to where it all began to offer my most grateful farewell to the American people. I hope you’ll join me – I want to thank you for everything you’ve done.
In anticipation of that speech, we thought we would take a walk down memory lane with the Obama family. If you do follow photographer Pete Souza on Instagram, then you probably get as much joy as we do from his candid behind-the-scenes pics of President Obama and the First Family. But if you don’t, here are a few classics from Souza to commemorate the nearing of an end of an era.
Long before the world saw him sing Al Green's "Let's Stay Together", I knew he could carry a tune since he often sang a few bars from a song in the office. At the first Governors Ball in February 2009, while dancing with the First Lady, he sang along to Earth Wind and Fire who were onstage entertaining the crowd in the East Room.