Speaking to a packed stadium of nearly 95,000, President Obama began by thanking South Africans "for sharing Nelson Mandela with us." Obama spoke of the anti-apartheid hero's humanity, perseverance, and strength. He closed his eulogy of Mandela by challenging the world to engage in introspection, asking "how well have I applied his lessons in my own life?" and to "act on behalf of justice" and "act on behalf of peace."
Below are clips of the president's speech:
-- "His struggle was your struggle; his triumph was your triumph."
-- "Your dignity and your hope found expression in his life, and your freedom, your democracy is his cherished legacy."
-- "It is hard to eulogize any man, to capture in words not just the facts and the dates that make a life but the essential truth of a person, the private joys and sorrows."
-- Mandela "moved a nation toward justice, and in the process moved the world."
-- "...raised herding cattle... [he] emerged as the last great liberator of the 20th century."
-- Mandela recognized "the moral necessity of racial justice."
-- He demonstrated a "commitment to democracy and rule of law, ratified not only by his election but by his willingness to step down from power after only one term."
-- "Given the scope of his accomplishments... it's tempting to remember Nelson Mandela as an icon, smiling and serene... but Madiba strongly resisted such a lifeless portrait. Instead, Madiba said 'I am not a saint unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.'"
-- "He was not a bust made of marble; he was a man of flesh and blood."
-- "We can learn from him still."
-- "He earned his place in history."
-- "Mandela showed us the power of action and taking risks on behalf of our ideals... Madiba disciplined his anger ... into strategies of action."
-- "he was not afraid to compromise."
-- Mandela was "true to his vision of laws that protect both minority and majority rights."
-- "He understood the ties that bind the human spirit.... that there is a oneness to humanity and that we achieve [by] sharing ourselves with others."
-- "We remember the gestures, large and small, introducing his jailers at his inauguration... revealed the depths of his empathy and understanding."
-- "He understood you must trust others so that they must trust you."
-- "It should prompt in each of us a chance for self reflection... how well have I applied his lessons in my own life? It's a question I ask myself, as a man and as a president."
-- "We too must act on behalf of justice. We too must act on behalf of peace... There are too many of us, too many of us on the sidelines."
-- "The questions we face today ... do not have easy answers. But [Madiba] did not face easy answers."
-- South Africa shows we can choose a world that is defined not by our differences but by our common hopes... by peace and justice, and opportunity."
-- "We will never see the likes of Nelson Mandela again."
-- To the young people in South Africa and around the globe, "you too can make his life's work your own."
-- "And while I will always fall short of Nelson Mandela's example, he makes me want to be a better man."
-- "Let us search for his strength, his largeness of spirit somewhere inside of ourselves. When injustice weighs heavy on our hearts and our best laid plans seem beyond our reach, let us think of Madiba."
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
-- William Ernest Henley
-- And "what a magnificent soul it was."
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