Obama’s Grandmother Passes Before Victory

In Uncategorized on November 13, 2008 at 6:34 am

Barack Obama winning the election was without a doubt a huge triumph and a new chapter in American history. Unfortunately, the woman who helped raise him died the day before the election.

Madelyn Payne Dunham, or “Toot” as Obama referred to her, died in her home in Hawaii at the age of 86. She had a long battle with cancer thatsadly came to an end. Obama was informed and shed tears as he told a crowd of 25,000 about her death. Obama’s grandparents raised him while his mother was an anthropologist studying in Indonesia. Her nickname Toot was a version of the word “tutu”, which is Hawaiian for grandmother.
During his acceptance speech in Denver, Obama paid tribute to her.

“She’s the one who taught me about hard work. She’s the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she’s watching tonight, and that tonight is her night as well.” Dunham never entered the campaign spotlight due to her ailing health. All people saw of her were from old photographs.

Obama has often described his grandparents as true American heroes. Obama’s grandfather served in WWII and his grandmother worked on a bomber production line. “She was the cornerstone of our family, and a woman of extraordinary accomplishment, strength, and humility, said in a joint statement by Obama and his half-sister Maya Soetoro-Ng Obama. Two weeks ago, Obama halted his campaign to fly to Hawaii and be by her side. It was the last time he would ever see her. Many people including John McCain extended their condolences to Obama and his family.

For Obama, winning the election was bittersweet. He made history, but his grandmother wasn’t there to see it. We can imagine, somehow, she is smiling down at her grandson and his family, loving and proud of what he has accomplished.


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