Obama cited the achievements of U.S. troops — “a testament to the courage, selflessness and teamwork of America’s Armed Forces,” he said — as a model for the rest of the country to follow, framing his speech on its theme: “An America Built to Last.”
“Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example,” Obama said. "Think about the America within our reach: A country that leads the world in educating its people. An America that attracts a new generation of high-tech manufacturing and high-paying jobs. A future where we’re in control of our own energy, and our security and prosperity aren’t so tied to unstable parts of the world. An economy built to last, where hard work pays off, and responsibility is rewarded."
Obama also cited America after World War II, when his grandfather was a member of Patton’s Army and went to college on the GI Bill, and his grandmother was part of the workforce that “turned out the best products on Earth.”
“The two of them shared the optimism of a nation that had triumphed over a depression and fascism,” Obama said.