And isn’t that the great American story? It’s the story of men and women gathered in churches and union halls, in town squares and high-school gyms, people who stood up and marched and risked everything they had, refusing to settle, determined to mold our future into the shape of our ideals.
It is because of their will and determination that this week we celebrate two anniversaries: the 88th anniversary of women winning the right to vote and the 45th anniversary of that hot summer day when Dr. King lifted our sights and our hearts with his dream for our nation.
I stand here today at the crosscurrents of that history, knowing that my piece of the American dream is a blessing hard won by those who came before me. All of them, driven by the same conviction that drove my dad to get up an hour early each day to painstakingly dress himself for work. The same conviction that drives the men and women I’ve met all across this country: people who work the day shift, kiss their kids goodnight and head out for the night shift without disappointment, without regret. That goodnight kiss a reminder of everything they’re working for.
The military families who say grace each night with an empty seat at the table, the servicemen and women who love this country so much, they leave those they love most to defend it. The young people across America serving our communities teaching children, cleaning up neighborhoods, caring for the least among us each and every day.
People like Hillary Clinton, who put those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, so that our daughters and sons can dream a little bigger and aim a little higher. People like Joe Biden, who’s never forgotten where he came from and never stopped fighting for folks who work long hours and face long odds and need someone on their side again.
All of us driven by a simple belief that the world as it is just won’t do. That we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be. That is the thread that connects our hearts. That is the thread that runs through my journey and Barack’s journey and so many other improbable journeys that have brought us here tonight, where the current of history meets this new tide of hope.
That is why I love this country. And in my own life, in my own small way, I’ve tried to give back to this country that has given me so much. That’s why I left a job at a law firm for a career in public service, working to empower young people to volunteer in their communities.
Because I believe that each of us-no matter what our age or background or walk of life-each of us has something to contribute to the life of this nation. It’s a belief Barack shares, a belief at the heart of