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Our hearts are broken today: Obama on US school shooting

Saturday, 15 December 2012 - 3:08am IST | Place: Washington | Agency: PTI
The US president said that the government will do everything possible to help the victim's families, although he admitted that nothing could fill the void left by a "lost child or loved one".

Appearing shaken by the death of at least 18 children in one of the deadliest school shooting in American history, the US President Barack Obama choked up several times as he said "our hearts are broken today" before the White House Press Corps.

"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," Obama said during his brief appearance before the White House Press last afternoon.

"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," he said.

Obama was first briefed about the tragic incident at approximately 10:30am in the Oval Office by his Homeland Security Adviser, John Brennan. He also spoke with the FBI director and Connecticut governor, where the deadly shooting took place.

"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 neighbourhoods are our neighbourhoods 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," Obama said as he paused several times during his remarks and wiped his eyes.

"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," said Obama, who is father of two young daughters.

The US president said that the government will do everything possible to help the victim's families, although he admitted that nothing could fill the void left by a "lost child or loved one".

"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," he said.

Obama said that the country has witnessed quite a number of shooting incidents in the past few years and after hearing about each of them, he did not reacted as a president but as a parent. "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 who doesn't feel the same overwhelming grief that I do," he said.

"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. Among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams," Obama said.




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