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Bonaparte, Napoleon, Emperor of France - Farewell to the Old Guard, 1814:

I have sacrificed all of my interests to those of the country. I go, but you, my friends, will continue to serve France. Her happiness was my only thought. It will still be the object of my wishes. Do not regret my fate; if I have consented to survive, it is to serve your glory.

After his disastrous invasion of Russia and subsequent defeat by the Allies at Leipzig, Napoleon lost the support of many of his generals.  The Allies then forced him to abdicate his throne and sent him to exile on the island of Elba.  Before he departed, Napoleon gave one final address to his most loyal and devoted military unit, the Old Guard, many of whom accompanied him into exile.

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Cohan, George M. Cohan - Vaudeville Act Farewell:

My mother thanks you.  My father thanks you.  My sister thanks you.  And I thank you

Before George Cohan became a successful broadway composer, director and star, he performed as part of his family's vaudeville act.  At the conclusion of each performance he took center stage to thank the audience.

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Edward VIII, King of England - Abdication speech, 1936:

I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility . . without the help and support of the woman I love.

King Edward VIII abdicated the throne of England on December 10,  1936, to marry Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee.  The following day he he spoke to both his former subjects and a world-wide audience in a radio broadcast. 

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Eisenhower, Dwight D., U.S. President - Farewell to the nation, 1961:

We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.

When President Eisenhower, former Chairman of the Joint Staff and Supreme Allied Commander, departed the presidency in 1961, he surprised many by insisting that "an alert and knowledgeable citizenry" was needed to guard against the over dependence upon a "military-industrial complex." 

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Gehrig, Lou - Farewell to baseball, 1939: 

I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.

Lou Gehrig bid farewell to baseball in an emotional ceremony at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939.  He had contracted--and would soon die from--amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a condition that is today often referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease.

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Johnson, Lyndon Baines - Announcement not to seek re-election, 1968: 

It is true that a house divided against itself is a house that cannot stand.  There is a division in the American house now and believing this as I do, I have concluded that I should not permit the Presidency to become involved in the partisan divisions that are now developing this political year.  Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as President.

After losing political support for his policy of escalating the war in Vietnam, President Johnson announced his decision not to seek re-election during a television address on 31 March 1968.

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Lee, Robert E., General of the Army of Northern Virginia -Farewell Address to his Soldiers, 1865: 

After four years of arduous service marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources. . . .  By the terms of the agreement, officers and men can return to their homes and remain until exchanged. You will take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from a consciousness of duty faithfully performed; and I earnestly pray that a Merciful God will extend to you His blessings and protection.

Immediately after his unconditional surrender to General Grant, General Lee published General Order No. 9 bidding his troops farewell.  Following the war, Lee accepted the presidency of Washington College--now Washington and Lee University--and served there until his death in 1870.

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MacArthur, Douglas, General - Departure from the Philippines:

The President of the United States ordered me to break through the Japanese lines and proceed from Corregidor to Australia for the purpose, as I understand it, of organizing the American offensive against Japan, a primary object of which is the relief of the Philippines.  I came through, and I shall return.

On 11 March 1942, MacArthur departed Corregidor in the face of mounting Japanese pressure.  He made it to Australia and after arriving at Adelaide by train on 20 March, he promised to return and liberate the islands.  Thirty-one months later, on 20 October 1944, in a much rehearsed filming, MacArthur landed at Leyte where he ceremoniously announced,

"People of the Philippines; I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil consecrated in the blood of our two people. We have come, dedicated and committed to the task of destroying every vestige of enemy control over your people.  The hour of your redemption is here. Your patriots have demonstrated an unswerving and resolute devotion to the principles of freedom that challenges the best that is written on the pages of human history. I now call upon your supreme effort, that the enemy may know, from the temper of an aroused people within, that he has a force there to contend with no less violent than is the force committed from without.  Rally to me. Let the indomitable spirit of Bataan and Corregidor lead on. As the line of battle rolls forward to bring you within the zone of operations, rise and strike. Strike at every favorable opportunity. For future generations of your sons and daughters, strike! In the name of your sacred dead, strike! Let no heart be faint. Let every arm be steeled, the guidance of the Divine God points the way. Follow His name to the Holy Grail of righteous victory."

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MacArthur, Douglas, General - Farewell address to the U.S. Congress:

And, like the old soldier of that ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away, an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty.  Goodbye.

President Harry Truman relieved the general from his military duties on April 10, 1951 for "insubordination" after MacArthur--on his own initiative--issued an ultimatum to the Chinese Communists to withdraw from conflict in Korea or risk attacks upon their "coastal areas and interior bases."  As Truman was about to issue the relief order, on of his advisors suggested that it might be better to allow MacArthur to voluntary resign; Truman is said to have replied, "The son of a bitch isn't going to resign on me, I want him fired."  Opposition, throughout the country, to Truman's action was overwhelming, and the House of Representatives invited MacArthur to address a joint session of Congress.  A record 30 million Americans watched the speech on television.  It was, as suggested by Truman's biographer, David McCullough, "MacArthur's finest hour."  The following day nearly 8 million New Yorkers--more than for Lindbergh or Eisenhower--turned out to cheer during MacArthur's ticker tape parade.

In 1962, MacArthur returned to the United States Military Academy at West Point and addressed the corps of cadets one final time closing his emotional speech, Today marks my final roll call with you.  But I want you to know that when I cross the river, my last conscious thought will be of the corps, and the corps, and the corps.  I bid you farewell.

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Nicholas II, Czar of  Russia - Abdication, 1917:

In these days of terrible struggle against the foreign enemy who has been trying for three years to impose his will upon Our Fatherland, God has willed that Russia should be faced with a new and formidable trial. Troubles at home threaten to have a fatal effect on the ultimate course of this hard-fought war. . . .  At this moment, a moment so decisive for existence of Russia, Our conscience bids Us to facilitate the closest union of Our subjects and the organization of all their forces for the speedy attainment of victory. For that reason We think it right-and the Imperial Duma shares Our view - to abdicate the crown of the Russian State and resign the supreme power.

Nicholas II's stubborn refusal to allow political reforms and the disastrous ending of the  war with Japan led directly to the Russian revolution of 1905.  Desperate to hold power, he conceded numerous freedoms to the people only to annul them when his position was once more secured.  With World War I came massive casualties, loss of  territory, and domestic turmoil which led directly to the Second Russian Revolution in February, 1917, and the Czar's abdication.   Following the abdication, Nicholas and the royal family first remained in Czarskoe Selo until the interim government decided to move them to Siberia in 1918.  After the Bolsheviks usurped power, the family was transported to Ekaterinbug in the Urals where they were all executed on July 17, 1918.

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Nixon, Richard M., President of the United States - Resignation, 1974:

I have felt it was my duty to persevere, to make every possible effort to complete the term of office to which you elected me.  In the past few days, however, it has become evident to me, that I no longer have a strong enough political base in the Congress to justify continuing that effort. . . .  I would have preferred to carry through to the finish, whatever the personal agony it would have involved. . . . But the interest of the Nation must always come before any personal considerations. . . .  Therefor, I shall resign the Presidency effective at noon tomorrow.  Vice President Ford will be sworn in as President at that hour in this office.

The burglary of the Democratic Party offices in the Washington, DC, Watergate Complex during the 1972 presidential campaign was subsequently linked to the White House.  The House of Representatives was preparing to impeach President Nixon when he resigned. 

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Pepys, Samuel - Diary closing:

And so to bed.

Famed English diarist, Samuel Pepys first used this closing in a diary entry in Jan 1660 and continued to use it for nearly every one of his subsequent daily entries until his death over forty years later.

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Skelton, Red - Television show closing:

Good night, and God bless.

Legendary American comedian, Red Skelton, ended every one of his television show with the same closing.

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Washington, George, General - Farewell to his officers, 1783: 

With a heart full of love and gratitude, I now take leave of you.  I most devoutly wish that your later days may be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable.  I cannot--I cannot come to each of you but shall feel obliged if each of you will come and take me by the hand.

By late November, 1783, the last of the British forces departed for Nova Scotia or England, and on December 4, all of the principal officers of the Continental Army gathered at Faunces Tavern in New York City to meet with General Washington for the last time.  As Washington entered the room, they snapped to attention and tucked their hats under their left arms.  After a few words of welcome, the silence became long and uncomfortable.  Finally, Washington motioned to the elaborate buffet of food, but few officers filled plates.  Washington charged a glass, and the others quickly followed.  As he began his farewell toast, tears trickled down his cheeks and he struggled to maintain composure.  Soon Baron von Steuben and Benjamin Tallmadge were crying as well.  Chief of Artillery Henry Knox was the first to move toward Washington's outstretched hand, but when he reached Washington they embraced instead.  Each of the other officers followed in turn.  After Washington's departure, a formal farewell was issued to the soldiers.

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Washington, George, President of the United States - Farewell to the nation, 1796: 

Observe good faith and justice towards all nations.  Cultivate peace and harmony with all. . . .  Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence . . . the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. . . .  Taking care always to keep ourselves, by suitable establishment, on a respectably defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.

Despite the pleas of many, Washington decided to retire from the Presidency after two terms.  On September 17, 1796, he delivered his farewell address which was soon published in newspapers throughout the country.  In addition to declaring his decision not to seek a third term, he warned against partisan dissension and foreign subterfuge.

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Wilhelm II, Kaiser of Germany - Abdication, 1918:

I herewith renounce for all time claims to the throne of Prussia and to the German Imperial throne connected therewith.

Kaiser Wilhelm's popularity plummeted during the final years of World War I.  In October, 1918, when U.S. President Wilson suggested that peace would be impossible with Wilhelm on the throne, he was strongly encouraged to abdicate by his generals and cabinet.  Wilhelm resisted until the Socialists declared a German Republic on November 9, 1918, when it was clear that the Hohenzollern dynasty was over.

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