WASHINGTON, D.C. — A highly emotional President Obama today said he feels "overwhelming grief" for the victims of the connecticut school shootings and their families.
Speaking at the White House this afternoon, the President remembered the young victims as "beautiful little kids" who had their entire lives ahead of them. The president frequently wiped tears from his eyes and took long pauses to compose himself as he discussed today's tragedy.
The president said he's received briefings from FBI Director Robert Mueller as information on the shootings has developed.
"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. And that was especially true today. I know there's not a parent in America that 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 five and ten years old.
(POTUS wipes eye. Long Pause.)
They had their entire lives ahead of them. Birthdays, graduations, weddings (wipes eye again) kids of their own.
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."
"As a country, we have been through this too many times. 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.
This evening, Michelle and I will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter, and we'll tell them that we love them, and we'll remind each other how deeply we love one another.
But there are families in Connecticut who cannot do that tonight, and they need all of us right now. In the hard days to come, that community needs us to be at our best as Americans, and I will do everything in my power as president to help.
Because while nothing can fill the space of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need, to remind them that we are there for them, that we are praying for them, that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their memories, but also in ours.
May God bless the memory of the victims and, in the words of Scripture, heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds."