It was a visit he surely wished he never had to make. President Barack Obama on Sunday traveled to Newtown, Connecticut, to meet with the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting and offer his comfort and support.
Afterward, he addressed local residents with a heartfelt speech that quickly cut to our failure as a nation to protect our children from violence.
"We gather here in memory of 20 beautiful children and six remarkable adults," he said. "... I come to offer the love and prayers of a nation."
"In the face of indescribable violence, in the face of unconscionable evil, you've looked out for each other, you've cared for one another and you loved one another. This is how Newtown will be remembered. And with time, that love will see you through."
"We know that when danger arrived in the halls, the school staff did not flinch, they did not hesitate," Obama observed. "They responded as we all hope we might respond in such terrifying circumstances: with courage, and with love, giving their lives to protect the students they loved."
"This job of keeping our children safe and teaching them well is something we can only do together. We're all parents. They're all our children. 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," he said. "That's how as a society we will be judged. It's our first job. If we don't get that right, we don't get anything right. Can we truly say, as a nation, that we are meeting our obligations? Can we honestly say that we are doing enough to keep our children — all of them — safe from harm?"
"If we are honest with ourselves, the answer is no," he said. "We are not doing enough, and we will have to change. We can't tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them we must change."
As the president ended his remarks by reciting the names of all 20 children killed in the attack, sobs could be heard throughout the crowd.
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