“On this Thanksgiving, I want to express my sincere gratitude to the American people for the trust that you’ve placed in me over these last eight years and the incredible kindness that you’ve shown my family.
“On behalf of Michelle, and my mother-in-law, and our girls, we want to thank you so very, very much,” Obama said at the event to kick-start the National Thanksgiving Day.
The president, while reflecting on the 2016 Thanksgiving Day on Thursday, listed some of his achievements in office as president.
“Of course, we have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Six straight years of job creation – the longest streak ever; low unemployment; wages are rising again.
“Inequality is narrowing. The housing market is healing. The stock market has nearly tripled. Our high school graduation rate is at an all-time high.
“Our uninsured rate is at an all-time low, thanks to the 20 million more Americans, including millions of children, who finally know the security of health insurance. “Proud families across the country are finally complete now that marriage equality is the law of the land.
“And there are many families of service members who had empty chairs at the table in recent years but who on this Thanksgiving can celebrate with our brave troops and veterans who we’ve welcomed home.” The outgoing president stressed that Americans, in spite of their diversity, are stronger.
“We are a people that look out for one another and get each other’s backs. We keep moving forward, defined by values and ideals that have been a light to all humanity. “We have to see ourselves in each other because we’ve all got families we love, and we all have hopes for their better future.
“We lose sight of that sometimes, and Thanksgiving is a good time for us to remember that. We have a lot more in common than divides us.”
He called on all Americans to use the day to reach out to the less-privileged, saying no one should lack something to eat on the day.
“The holidays are also a time when it’s even more important to reach out to those who need a helping hand.
“I believe we’re judged by how we care for the poor and the vulnerable, the sick and the elderly, the immigrant, the refugee, everybody who’s trying to get a second chance.
“I believe that in order to truly live up to those ideals, we have to continually fight discrimination in all its forms and always show the world that America is a generous and giving country.
“We should also make sure everyone has something to eat on Thanksgiving,” Obama said.
Thanksgiving is a public holiday celebrated in the U.S. on the last Thursday in November.