Last night President Obama visited the suffering community of Newtown, Connecticut, to “offer the love and prayers of a nation” to the grieving families who are reeling from the senseless school massacre on Friday morning.
It was a comforting speech for all of the millions across our country who are trying their best to find a way to absorb what happened.
I am very mindful that mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow, nor can they heal your wounded hearts. I can only hope it helps for you to know that you’re not alone in your grief, that our world, too, has been torn apart, that all across this land of ours, we have wept with you.
The President offered his promise that our children, everyone’s children, all children deserve protection and safety:
This is our first task, caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. And by that measure, can we truly say, as a nation, that we’re meeting our obligations? Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children, all of them, safe from harm? Can we claim, as a nation, that we’re all together there, letting them know they are loved and teaching them to love in return? Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose?
I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer’s no. We’re not doing enough.
Then he said straight to the point, there needs to be change:
We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.
We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society, but that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely we can do better than this.
Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard?
Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?
The most heartbreaking part of the speech came when President Obama read a Bible quote and then read the name of the children:
“Let the little children come to me,” Jesus said, “and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, Madeline, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, James, Grace, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Benjamin, Avielle, Allison, God has called them all home.
My prayers and love go out to the families directly affected, the babies who left this world too soon, the children and families who survived, and everyone who has been utterly devastated by this unbelievably tragic event.
The full speech was 18 minutes and if you missed it, please watch it below: