U.S. Sen. John Kerry returned to Massachusetts  Thursday, January 31st to offer a personal and at times emotional thank you as he prepares to resign the office he's held for nearly three decades.

Kerry, who is to be sworn in as the nation's next secretary of state today, addressed a crowd of well-wishers, current and former staffer members and elected officials at Boston's historic Faneuil Hall. Kerry called his years in office an "extraordinary journey."

Kerry said  that he couldn't do justice to his feelings for those he's worked with and for the state he's been privileged to represent.

Looking ahead to his new role as the nation's top diplomat, Kerry said the best antidote to the narrative of an America in decline is to make sure the nation's democracy works effectively at home.