"For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies.
"It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break; the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours.
"It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.
"Our challenges may be new, the instruments with which we meet them may be new, but those values upon which our success depends, honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism -- these things are old.
"These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history."
~ Barack Obama, January 20, 2009