Obama's voice cracked, and tears rolled down his cheeks. It's "hard for me to talk about," he said. "I want everybody to know, though, a little bit about her," he went on. "Her name was Madelyn Dunham, and she was born in Kansas, a small town, in 1922, which means that she lived through the Great Depression. She lived through two world wars. She watched her husband go off to war, while she looked after a baby and worked on a bomber assembly line."
Obama called his maternal grandmother humble and plain-spoken, then wove her story into the speech he usually gives with little variation. "She was one of those quiet heroes that we have all across America, who -- they're not famous, their names aren't in the newspapers, but each and every day they work hard," he said. "They look after their families. They sacrifice for their children and their grandchildren. They aren't seeking the limelight. All they try to do is just do the right thing."
"North Carolina," he said, his voice blasting from loudspeakers across the University of North Carolina field, "in just one more day we have the opportunity to honor all those quiet heroes all across America. . . . We can bring change to America to make sure their work and their sacrifice is honored."
. . . . .
my mom is my quiet hero. she raised me, she was the cornerstone of my life, and instilled in me--and my daughter, i am proud to say--the values, beliefs, and hopes that make me the person to whom i strive to be and think that i am.
although she died in 1988, when she was just 59, and my daughter was 15, she was able to leave such an indelible mark in the two of us that not a day goes by that we don't think of her and feel her influence in what we do, and know that something that has happened would make her happy or pleased. i see and feel her in what my daughter does, and now in what my grandchildren do. like me, mom was a single parent [and even though she remarried when i was six, i still considered her a single parent for reasons i won't go into in this post]; her unwaivering strength got us through incredibly difficult times, and make my thoughts and reflections quite positive even though an objective view might indicate otherwise. this was the late 50s, when the single parent ["unwed mother" was the term of derogation of the day] was like the leper of earlier times, and yet she instilled in me a quiet pride in family and accomplishment, and in that order. nothing makes me happier nor more proud than to see that my family has done this or values that. we encourage among ourselves that same sacrifice for our kids and grandkids that madelyn dunham lived and instilled in barack obama and his sister. i know that mom would be very happy for us, and for the obama family, for all the hard work for the good fight for the right reasons during the past several months and for the months and years to come.
mom lived through the great depression; she suffered rheumatic fever and scarlet fever as a child, and during her 13 months of bed care [they hit her in succession], she benefitted from the loving sacrifice of both her parents. both her mother and father died shortly before i was born, and yet she regularly reminded me of what they did, and of their values and strengths and beliefs. i proudly grew up a "new deal democrat" and i STILL consider myself that. fdr's core values--as i perceive them--still course threw my body. i am a strong proponent of a good government doing good things for ALL people, but especially those who find themselves getting the short end of the stick--for whatever reason.
i strongly continue to believe that our government remains capable of doing that, despite the rampant greed and cynicism that pervades and corrupts many among us. the core values and beliefs i hold true and near and dear still exist in many many millions today, and they will be voting for barack obama and joe biden today.
and my quiet hero, my mom, would be happy and proud.