If thereâ€™s even one step we can take to save another child or another parent or another town from the grief thatâ€™s visited Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek and Newtown and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that, then surely we have an obligation to try.
In the coming weeks, Iâ€™ll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens, from law enforcement, to mental health professionals, to parents and educators, in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this, because what choice do we have? We canâ€™t accept events like this as routine.
Are we really prepared to say that weâ€™re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard?
Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?
You know, all the worldâ€™s religions, so many of them represented here today, start with a simple question.
Why are we here? What gives our life meaning? What gives our acts purpose?
We know our time on this Earth is fleeting. We know that we will each have our share of pleasure and pain, that even after we chase after some earthly goal, whether itâ€™s wealth or power or fame or just simple comfort, we will, in some fashion, fall short of what we had hoped. We know that, no matter how good our intentions, weâ€™ll all stumble sometimes in some way.
Weâ€™ll make mistakes, weâ€™ll experience hardships and even when weâ€™re trying to do the right thing, we know that much of our time will be spent groping through the darkness, so often unable to discern Godâ€™s heavenly plans.
Thereâ€™s only one thing we can be sure of, and that is the love that we have for our children, for our families, for each other. The warmth of a small childâ€™s embrace, that is true.
The memories we have of them, the joy that they bring, the wonder we see through their eyes, that fierce and boundless love we feel for them, a love that takes us out of ourselves and binds us to something larger, we know thatâ€™s what matters.
We know weâ€™re always doing right when weâ€™re taking care of them, when weâ€™re teaching them well, when weâ€™re showing acts of kindness. We donâ€™t go wrong when we do that.
Thatâ€™s what we can be sure of, and thatâ€™s what you, the people of Newtown, have reminded us. Thatâ€™s how youâ€™ve inspired us. You remind us what matters. And thatâ€™s what should drive us forward in everything we do for as long as God sees fit to keep us on this Earth.
â€œLet the little children come to me,â€ Jesus said, â€œand do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.â€
Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, Madeline, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, James, Grace, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Benjamin, Avielle, Allison, God has called them all home.
For those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on and make our country worthy of their memory. May God bless and keep those weâ€™ve 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.