(Photo: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)
President Barack Obama said he will do everything he can with the power of his office to prevent another massacre like the shooting that occurred Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. Speaking at the town's memorial service Sunday, he said the nation must change to protect its children.
As a nation, our first task, Obama said, is caring for our children: "If we don't get that right, we don't get anything right. That's how, as a society, we will be judged."
"Can we honestly say we are doing enough to keep our children, all of them, from harm?" Obama asked.
"If we're honest with ourselves, the answer is no," he continued. "We're not doing enough and we'll have to change."
Obama reminded everyone that this was the fourth similar massacre since he became president. With so many child victims this time, Obama, like much of the nation, seemed even more devastated. When Gov. Dan Malloy (Conn.) introduced Obama, he noted that Obama told him that Friday, the day of the shooting, was the most difficult day of his presidency.
Later in the speech, he called for change again.
"We can't tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change," Obama said.
While noting that no single law or set of laws can prevent all violence, Obama said that is no excuse for doing nothing. We have an obligation to try, he added, and, "we can't accept events like this as routine."
Obama began and ended the speech with scripture.
He opened with 2 Corinthians 4: 16-18 (NIV): "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
He ended with a quote from Jesus that appears in Matthew 19:14, Mark 10:14, and Luke 18:16: "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."
After that, Obama read the first names of all the children who died in the shooting and ended his speech by asking God to give His comfort and blessing to the Newtown community and the United States.
"May God bless and keep those we lost in his heavenly place. May He grace those we still have with His holy comfort. And may He bless and watch over this community and the United States of America," Obama said.