In a short time, Barack Obama's presidency will come to an end.
That reality is starting to set in for Americans, many of whom have come to love President Obama during his eight years in office. If he were to leave today, his approval rating —56 percent as of November 7, according to Gallup — would be one of the highest for any of the last eight presidents.
Over the last week, those approval ratings have been bolstered by some serious displays of class. President Obama received president-elect Donald Trump, a man who questioned his place of birth for half a decade, with grace and honor at The White House. He's urged supporters and opponents to give Trump a chance and has encouraged a continued dedication to peaceful transitions of power and trust in democracy.
Now, reports are breaking that President Obama will be putting extra time into helping president-elect Trump transition into The White House. This came after news that Trump was "surprised" by the scope of responsibilities involved with entering The White House.
Many Americans will have different memories of Obama's presidency. Some will remember him for being one of the greatest presidents of all-time. Others will remember him for his dignity and honor in the face of opposition and hatred. Some may have more negative memories, thinking instead of a healthcare law that didn't live up to expectations, drone wars overseas, and extensions of executive powers.
Regardless, when President Obama exits he will leave behind some heartwarming memories. Below, we've recapped just a few.
1. When Obama hugged the little girl from Flint, Michigan.
There are few news stories that have captured the public's attention — and subsequent heartbreak — like the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. With the ramifications of the water crisis being felt all over Flint, hometown hero Mari Copeny, an 8-year-old dubbed "Little Miss Flint," asked President Obama if she could meet him.
But instead of making her go all the way to Washington, D.C., President Obama flew to Flint. The moment the two met was caught on camera and few will ever forget it.
2. When he stood up for a protester who was supporting Trump.
During a speech Obama gave endorsing Hillary Clinton just prior to the election, a pro-Trump protester who appeared to be a veteran of the armed forces began loudly heckling the president.
As the largely pro-Obama crowd in North Carolina began to boo and chant over the protester, Obama stepped in.
"First of all — hold up — we live in a country that respects free speech," Obama said. "Second of all, it looks like maybe he might have served in our military and we gotta respect that. Third of all, he was elderly and we gotta respect our elders. And fourth of all, don't boo. Vote."
3. When he dropped the mic, literally.
Regardless of political affiliations, one thing almost all Americans can surely agree is on is that President Obama is a great orator. His speeches were legendary amongst his supporters and could not be ignored by his opponents. But even more memorable might be his chuckle-worthy performances at The White House Correspondents' Dinner.
After delivering one such performance, Obama ended his final Correspondents' Dinner with a move that will go down in Internet history: the mic drop.
4. When he revealed that he's a feminist.
Speaking at the first-ever United State of Women summit, Obama shared the stage with First Lady Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Kerry Washington, Vice President Joe Biden, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, among others.
During his chance to speak, Obama seemed to make a point of declaring himself a feminist, despite the fact the word still carries negative connotations for some.
"I know you're really here to see Michelle, or Oprah... I cannot compete with them. But I did want to stop by and make one thing very clear," Obama said. "I may be a little greyer than I was eight years ago, but this is what a feminist looks like."
His words were backed by the policies he advocated for during his time in the Oval Office, including those designed to improve women's health care, family leave, and women's representation in STEM fields.
5. When he welcomed a grieving Syrian refugee to the country.
Last year, the wildly popular Humans of New York photography project profiled a Syrian refugee who was on his way to Michigan after losing his family in an air strike. The man, now battling cancer, was quoted in the project as saying that he still felt like he could make a difference in the world.
When his photo was posted to Facebook, as confirmed by White House officials, Obama himself left a comment from the president's verified Facebook page.
"As a husband and a father, I cannot even begin to imagine the loss you've endured. You and your family are an inspiration. I know that the great people of Michigan will embrace you with the compassion and support you deserve. Yes, you can still make a difference in the world, and we're proud that you'll pursue your dreams here. Welcome to your new home. You're part of what makes America great."
6. When he sang "Amazing Grace" to a congregation following a mass shooting.
After the tragic mass shooting at a church in South Carolina, Obama attended the funeral of one of the victims, South Carolina State Senator Clementa Pinckney. 30 minutes into a beautiful speech, the president paused and broke into an impromptu rendition of Amazing Grace that brought the whole room to its feet.
7. When he spoke out about his daughters and their futures.
One of the best things about Obama is that he so frequently reminds us he's human. Throughout his presidency, he's had the decency to admit mistakes, the courage to show emotion in front of live television cameras, and the thoughtfulness to speak from personal experience whenever he got the chance.
Recently, Obama was on a North Carolina radio station where he was asked about his daughters' dating lives. Somehow, he managed to squeeze his love for Michelle, his daughters, and a crappy dad joke into a response about why he wasn't too worried about their futures or their love lives.
"One is, Michelle — she's such a great example of how she carries herself, her self-esteem not depending on boys to validate how you look... not letting yourself be judged by anything other than your character and intelligence," Obama said. "And hopefully I've been a good example in terms of how I've shown respect to my wife. I don't worry about it because they're really solid, smart girls — young ladies, now... Another reason is because they have the Secret Service. There's only so much these guys can do! These poor young men come by the house."
Cover photo: Wikicommons