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Former President Barack Obama waves as he departs the East Front of the U.S. Capitol, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 in Washington after the inauguration of President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

These were the final moments of Obama's presidency


The transition from one president to the next is full of longstanding traditions. Many of these traditions take place in the moments surrounding the inauguration, set in place to symbolically demonstrate the shift in power and to welcome the new president to the White House. 

Here's what happened in Obama's final hours as president, from the night before the inauguration to the beginning of the ceremony, and his first hours as a regular citizen.  

Photos of President Barack Obama and his family, that for years have lined the walls of corridors in the West Wing of the White House in Washington, are now blank and empty, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017. Only a skeleton staff remained at the White House on Thursday, creating an eerily quiet feeling in the normally bustling West Wing. Many desks and offices were already empty, having been vacated by staffers who have departed over the past few weeks. Those staffers still left were packing up their desks, handing in their phones and saying teary farewells to their colleagues. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Prior to the inauguration, the White House residence staff began transitioning the Obama White House to the Trump White House. On Thursday, only empty picture frames lined the walls as the transformation was underway.

A Marine stands guard outside the West Wing of the White House as President Barack Obama spends his last evening as President in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Thursday was also the date of Obama's final phone call to a world leader. He called German Chancellor Angela Merkel to thank her for her "strong, courageous, and steady leadership" and for "their personal friendship."

Obama signed his last bill into law on the morning of the inauguration. It's called The Tested Ability to Leverage Exceptional National Talent Act of 2017.

The bill "codifies the Presidential Innovation Fellows Program to enable exceptional individuals with proven track records to serve time-limited appointments in executive agencies to address some of the Nation’s most significant challenges," according to the White House press office. It makes the Presidential Innovation Fellows Program permanent. 

President Barack Obama is seen the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, before the start of presidential inaugural festivities for the incoming 45th President of the United States Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Obama was seen in the Oval Office before the inauguration began. One tradition during the transition of power is for the outgoing president to leave a letter for his successor in the Oval Office. 

Obama sent out his final tweet as President at 9:13 AM ET.

President Barack Obama kisses first lady Michelle Obama as they await for the arrival of President-elect Donald Trump and his wife Melania, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

As Obama waited for Trump's arrival, he showed us all the very definition of #relationshipgoals one more time as president.

President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, President-elect Donald Trump and Melania Trump stand at the White House in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The Obamas welcomed the Trumps to the White House on the morning of the inauguration, and the couples posed for photos on the White House steps. The tea reception has long been an inaugural tradition.

US President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden arrive for the Presidential Inauguration of Donald Trump at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / SAUL LOEB

After the tea reception, Obama headed from the White House to the Capitol for the inauguration ceremony. 

President Donald Trump and former president Barack Obama stand on the steps of the Capitol in Washington, Friday, jan. 20, 2017, with first lady Melania Trump and Michelle Obama, prior to the Obama's departure to Andrews Air Force Base, Md., following the presidential inauguration. (Rob Carr/Pool Photo via AP)

Once the inauguration ended, the former president stood next to President Donald Trump on the steps of the Capitol, awaiting his departure.

Former President Barack Obama waves from a helicopter as President Donald Trump walks with wife Melania Trump back to the Capitol Building in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2107, after Trump is sworn in at the 58th Presidential Inauguration. (John Angelillo/Pool Photo via AP)

Obama waved as he boarded the helicopter from the Capitol to Joint Base Andrews.

Obama gave his final farewell at Joint Base Andrews.

And as we say goodbye to Obama, he's saying hello to Palm Springs.

At 4:04 PM ET, Obama returned to his original Twitter handle.

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