BARACK Obama has written an emotional letter to America on his final day in office, saying: "You made me a better President, and you made me a better man."
The outgoing commander-in-chief thanked US citizens for the honour of serving as 44th president in the note posted on Medium, adding that he would also leave one at the White House for Donald Trump.
"All that I've learned in my time in office, I've learned from you," he told his fellow Americans.
"You have been the source of goodness, resilience, and hope from which I've pulled strength."
After a year of terrorist attacks and mass shootings, he said he had mourned with grieving families and singled out the "grace" of those at an African American church in Charleston, South Carolina, where Dylann Roof shot dead nine people in hopes of igniting a race war.
Mr Obama also praised "neighbours and communities who cared for each other during the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes."
At a time when many are expressing despair over the incoming administration, the departing president said he took heart from the hope of the next generation - graduates, new military officers, doctors and scientists who have helped injured soldiers walk and a paralysed man regain his sense of touch.
He also made some subtle digs at the President-elect in referring to issues on which they are divided.
He spoke of the success of his Obamacare health scheme, which the President-elect has vowed to undo, and to the legal recognition of same-sex marriage. And he mentioned that even young children reminded us of our "obligations to care for refugees."
Mr Obama praised Americans for "decency, determination, good humour, and kindness", but reminded everyone that we need to work for our future, irrespective of party politics.
He reassured doubtful voters that even "when the arc of progress seems slow" we should remember the US is not about one person but about being united, and "the most important word is 'we'."
The President of eight years reminded us of his election campaign slogan: "Yes we can."
And he made it clear this isn't the end of his role in public life.
"I'll be right there with you every step of the way."
My fellow Americans,
It's a long-standing tradition for the sitting president of the United States to leave a parting letter in the Oval Office for the American elected to take his or her place.
It's a letter meant to share what we know, what we've learned, and what small wisdom may help our successor bear the great responsibility that comes with the highest office in our land, and the leadership of the free world.
But before I leave my note for our 45th president, I wanted to say one final thank you for the honor of serving as your 44th. Because all that I've learned in my time in office, I've learned from you. You made me a better President, and you made me a better man.
Throughout these eight years, you have been the source of goodness, resilience, and hope from which I've pulled strength.
I've seen neighbors and communities take care of each other during the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes. I have mourned with grieving families searching for answers - and found grace in a Charleston church.
I've taken heart from the hope of young graduates and our newest military officers.
I've seen our scientists help a paralyzed man regain his sense of touch, and wounded warriors once given up for dead walk again.
I've seen Americans whose lives have been saved because they finally have access to medical care, and families whose lives have been changed because their marriages are recognized as equal to our own.
I've seen the youngest of children remind us through their actions and through their generosity of our obligations to care for refugees, or work for peace, and, above all, to look out for each other.
I've seen you, the American people, in all your decency, determination, good humor, and kindness. And in your daily acts of citizenship, I've seen our future unfolding.
All of us, regardless of party, should throw ourselves into that work - the joyous work of citizenship. Not just when there's an election, not just when our own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime.
I'll be right there with you every step of the way.
And when the arc of progress seems slow, remember: America is not the project of any one person. The single most powerful word in our democracy is the word 'We.' 'We the People.' 'We shall overcome.'
Yes, we can.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.