Here is the text of President Barack Obama’s remarks at the youth inaugural ball, from a transcript provided by MTV:

“I’ve been looking forward to this ball for quite some time because, when you look at the history of this campaign, what started out as an improbable journey when nobody gave us a chance was carried forward, was inspired by, was energized by young people all across America.

“I can’t tell you how many people have come up to us and said, ‘I was kind of skeptical, but then my daughter … she wouldn’t budge. She told me I needed to vote for Obama.’ ‘Suddenly, I saw my son and he was out volunteering and getting involved like never before.’ And so a new generation inspired a previous generation and that’s how change happens in America.

“It doesn’t just happen in the election and campaign. It’s happened in service all across America. As this is broadcast all around the world we know that young people everywhere are in the process of imagining something different than what has come before us. Where there is war they imagine peace. Where there is hunger they imagine people being able to feed themselves. Where there is bigotry they imagine togetherness. The future will be in your hands if you are able to sustain the kind of energy and focus you showed on this campaign.

“I promise you, America will get stronger and more united. You are going to make it happen, and we thank you from the bottom our hearts. God bless America. Hit it, band.”