Pat, thank you for all of the great work that have you done for this community in the last three days. To the police chief and to the superintendent of schools, thank you for your great service, as well. To all of the first responders, thank you.
When I came into the hall, one of the first songs to be played on the piano was “Amazing Grace,” which is fitting for any number of reasons. It’s become an anthem for first responders. It has great words. It also speaks of the power of faith.
“Amazing Grace” was written by a former sea captain engaged in the slave trade. And those profound words that “I once was lost and now am found” speak to us on a day like today when we are called upon – dare I say even required to be invested in our faith.
A faith so evident in this room and in this community at this time. A faith that is, after all, at its very core a gift from God. A faith in which we find comfort and hope and compassion. A faith in which we are given the power to go on, to survive that which has befallen this community, these families, these spouses. That which has happened and is unimaginable and unthinkable and was never, we thought, intended to be upon us here in Connecticut, or in Newtown, or in Sandy Hook.
I choose to think about the fact that in the coming days we will officially enter winter. And that is always to be followed by the spring. Let me assure you that in winter each time I see the beginning of a snowfall, I will be thinking of those 27 souls lost just a few days ago.
Each time the day gets a little longer, I will think and dream of the lives that might have been and the lives that were so full of grace. And when the flowers start to come out of the ground, and when they rise up, I will know that we are in touch with those that we have lost in the last few days.
We will go on. We will find strength. Faith is a gift, as is our ability to support one another in our greater community.
To all of you, I extend my most profound condolences on behalf of all of your fellow citizens for what you have seen, what you have witnessed and what have you personally experienced.
We will move on, we will never forget, we will in many ways be made stronger for what has transpired. And we will get better.
We are blessed today to have with us the president of the United States, who upon meeting with Pat and I just a little while ago said that the most difficult day of his presidency was Friday, when he heard the news of that which had befallen this community. I assured him that Connecticut, Newtown and Sandy Hook are strong, and I welcomed him on your behalf to our community. I now introduce the President of the United States.