President Barack Obama marked the one-year anniversary today of the tragic Newtown, Conn., elementary school shooting by delivering his weekly address honoring the memories of the 26 innocent children and educators who were taken on that day.
"One year ago today, a quiet, peaceful town was shattered by unspeakable violence. Six dedicated school workers and 20 beautiful children were taken from our lives forever. As parents, as Americans, the news filled us with grief," Obama said addressing the nation.
Obama and the first lady, Michelle Obama, also marked the day with a candle-lighting memorial in the White House Map Room. On this somber occassion, the president wore a navy blue suit and blue tie with black shoes, and the first lady wore a black knee-length dress with black shoes.
Twenty-six candles, one for each soul lost at Sandy Hook, were arranged a 5x2-foot wooden table, glass-covered. The candles were about two inches tall and sat in three-inch-tall glass jars. The Obamas each took a pre-lit candle and lit all 26 of the candles.
Upon finishing, they both took a step back and faced the table and bowed their heads for a moment of silence. They stood in silent remebrance for For about a minute. The president put his arm around the first lady's waist and led her down the hall and out of the room.
Obama reminded us in his speech that "Newtown is a town like so many of our hometowns. The victims were educators and kids that could have been any of our own. And our hearts were broken for the families that lost a piece of their heart; for the communities changed forever; for the survivors, so young, whose innocence was torn away far too soon."
Once again, Obama vowed to help put an end to these tragedies. "We feel a sense of resolve – that these tragedies must end, and that to end them, we must change."
Praising the parents of the children and the families of the victims, Obama said, "From the very beginning, our efforts were led by the parents of Newtown – men and women, impossibly brave, who stepped forward in the hopes that they might spare others their heartbreak. And they were joined by millions of Americans – mothers and fathers; sisters and brothers – who refused to accept these acts of violence as somehow inevitable."
"Over the past year, their voices have sustained us. And their example has inspired us – to be better parents and better neighbors; to give our children everything they need to face the world without fear; to meet our responsibilities not just to our own families, but to our communities," said Obama.
Obama said that "we haven’t yet done enough to make our communities and our country safer. We have to do more to keep dangerous people from getting their hands on a gun so easily. We have to do more to heal troubled minds. We have to do everything we can to protect our children from harm and make them feel loved, and valued, and cared for."
Obama then made another call for gun control. "As a nation, we can’t stop every act of violence. We can’t heal every troubled mind. But if we want to live in a country where we can go to work, send our kids to school, and walk our streets free from fear, we have to keep trying."
In an emotional note, Obama ended, "We have to keep caring. We have to treat every child like they’re our child. Like those in Sandy Hook, we must choose love. And together, we must make a change. Thank you."
White House - Weekly address
White House pool report
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John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African American studies, published by The Elevator Group, Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books. John has volunteered for many political campaigns.