President Barack Obama gave a moving speech this afternoon in the wake of the unspeakably awful Connecticut school shooting that left at least 27 people, many of them children, dead, wiping tears from his eyes as he called for the nation to stand together. “We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years,” he said from the Brady Briefing Room in the White House. “And each time I learn the news, I react not as a president, but as anybody else would as a parent. 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.”
“The majority of those who died today were children — beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own,” he continued. “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.”
Just prior to his speech, the president issued a national proclamation calling for flags to be flown at half-staff around the country until sunset on December 18.
Earlier, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters asking about gun control that there “will be … a day for discussion of the usual Washington policy debates, but I do not think today is that day.” In his speech, Obama only alluded to the topic: “As a country, we have been through this too many times,” he said. “Whether it is an elementary school in Newtown or a shopping mall in Oregon or a temple in Wisconsin or a movie theater in Aurora or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children. And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.”