At the memorial service for the victims of the Newtown shooting, President Obama said the nation is not doing enough to end the violence and we must change.
Here is the video:
After quoting scripture, the president told the people of Newtown that they are not alone in their grief and that the nation is weeping with them. He said, “Newtown, you are not alone.” The president added that the people of Newtown have also inspired the nation in these difficult times. He then praised the bravery of the adult staffers at the school who responded in such terrifying circumstances by giving their lives to protect the children. The president then praised the first responders, and the children who followed instructions and comforted each other. The president said, As a community you’ve inspired us, Newtown.”
Obama said that the nation is left with some hard questions. The president talked about the job of keeping our children safe and teaching them well is something we can only do together. He said, We bear responsibility for every child. We’re all parents, and they are all our children.” He said society will judge us by how we raise and keep our children safe from harm. He asked if we can say that we are doing enough to keep our children safe from harm? The president said, “I’ve been reflecting on this for the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer’s no. It’s not enough, and we have to change.”
Obama said this is the fourth time he has spoken at one of these memorial services, and that these tragedies must stop and we must change. The president said that if there is even one step that we can take to save one child, one parent, one town from this grief, we must try.
The president said, “We can’t accept events like this as routine.” He asked if we are prepared to say that the politics are too hard, or that this violence is the price of our freedom?
There was something different about this mass killing, and that was reflected in President Obama’s remarks. This president has had too much experience with speaking at this type of memorial. This was his fourth time comforting the nation after a mass shooting, but the first time that he has called for action and change to combat the violence.
It would have been extremely inappropriate for the president to politicize a memorial, which Obama didn’t do, but it is clear that this horrific incident has resulted in a moment of national reflection about our priorities.
President Obama is often criticized for not showing enough emotion, but over the last three days he has worn his heart on his sleeve. Obama is doing what every great leader should do during a time of grief. He is comforting the nation, while offering a vision for the future. One gets the sense that the country wants the violence to end, and President Obama never wants to have to speak at another memorial again.
The president can’t stop the violence alone. Every American must demand that we do everything that we can to figure out why this is happening, and what we can do to build a safer future.
The power to bring about change, and the future in our hands.