AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
Even the president can be undone by grief.
President Barack Obama addressed the nation today about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., and became visibly emotional while discussing the tragedy that has so far taken the lives of seven adults and 20 children, apparently an entire classroom of kindergartners who were taught by the alleged killer's mother.
"We've endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years, and each time I learn the news I react not as a president, but as anybody else would, as a parent." said the president. "And that was especially true today. I know there's not a parent in America who doesn't feel the same overwhelming grief that I do."
Continuing with his remarks, the president said:
"The majority of those who died today were children, beautiful little kids between the years of 5 and 10 years old," said Mr. Obama, who then stopped.
The president paused for roughly 10 seconds, wiping at his eye and appearing to fight back tears of emotion as his own words sank in about the enormity of the tragedy, and the pain facing the victims, their families and the rest of us who can only watch the horror.
"They had their entire lives ahead of them: birthdays, graduations, weddings. Kids of their own," said the president, his eyes visibly wet and wiping at his cheek. "Among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.
"So our hearts are broken today for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children and for the families of the adults who were lost. Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors as well. For as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children's innocence has been torn away from them too early and there are no words that will ease their pain.
"As a country we have been through this too many times," he said before listing the many sites of previous mass shootings in Oregon, Colorado, Wisconsin and more. "These neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children. We're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics."
But tonight, he said, he and Mrs. Obama will hug their children tighter and tell them that they love them.