President Barack Obama returned to his adopted hometown of Chicago on Tuesday to deliver his farewell address to the nation.
Thousands of spectators gathered at McCormick Place convention center to watch Obama conclude his two-term presidency in the city where his political life began 20 years ago.
During his speech, Obama reflected on his administration’s accomplishments, such as the Affordable Care Act, the Iran nuclear deal and the restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba.
While musing over the country’s progress, Obama acknowledged today’s society is far from perfect.
"Race remains a potent and often divisive force in our society,” Obama said.
The president affirmed the need to uphold anti-discrimination laws and advised Americans from all walks of life show empathy for one another.
"We all have to start with the premise that each of our fellow citizens loves this country just as much as we do,” Obama said.
President-elect Donald Trump was mentioned by name once in the speech, which drew jeers from the audience, but Obama stood firm on his commitment to a “peaceful transfer of power,” like the one showed to him by President George W. Bush.
As a citizen after leaving office, Obama indicated he would continue fighting for causes he believed in.
The president was joined onstage by First Lady Michelle Obama, daughter Malia, Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden.
Channeling his roots as a community organizer, Obama finished his speech by asking Americans to believe in themselves and enact the changes they want to see.
On a retrospective and forward-looking note, the president reintroduced the three words that defined his first presidential election: “Yes We Can."
Video: Paris Schutz speaks with U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky before Obama's speech at McCormick Place.
More Photos from McCormick Place:
Attendees enter McCormick Place, the largest convention center in North America. (Evan Garcia / Chicago Tonight)
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and billionaire entrepreneur J.B. Pritzker talk before Obama's speech. (Evan Garcia / Chicago Tonight)
Carol Marin interviews White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett following the president's speech. (Evan Garcia / Chicago Tonight)
Seats began filling up hours before the president's speech. (Evan Garcia / Chicago Tonight)
Eddie Vedder, lead singer of the band Pearl Jam, performs with the Chicago Children's Choir. (Evan Garcia / Chicago Tonight)
Obama walks to the stage to deliver his farewell address. (Evan Garcia / Chicago Tonight)
A protester holds a sign reading "Pardon Us All" during Obama's speech. The woman was removed by law enforcement shortly after. (Evan Garcia / Chicago Tonight)
Vice President Joe Biden greets attendees after the president's farewell speech. (Evan Garcia / Chicago Tonight)
Obama reaches out to his wife and daughter. (Evan Garcia / Chicago Tonight)
The president waves goodbye after finishing his farewell address. (Evan Garcia / Chicago Tonight)
Jan. 9: A little more than eight years ago, Barack Obama gave his presidential acceptance speech in Grant Park. Tuesday, he’ll bookend his presidency with a much anticipated farewell address at McCormick Place.
Jan. 5: Chicago Tonight correspondent Carol Marin asks the president about his legacy, violence in Chicago and whether he would consider pardoning disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Nov. 10: It once seemed unthinkable: President Obama and President-elect Trump met at the White House for the first time Thursday. A closer look at the meeting, and what's ahead for Democrats and Republicans.