Obama: "Our hearts are broken"

Published: .
Updated: .

President Barack Obama fought back tears as he paid tribute to those killed in the Newtown, Connecticut mass shooting Friday, and urged action to prevent future tragedies.

The president said there was "not a parent in America who doesn't feel the overwhelming grief that I do."

Obama wiped away tears several times as he spoke.

"They had their entire lives ahead of them - birthdays, graduations, kids of their own," Obama said.

He also referenced other incidents of gun violence, including this week's shooting at a Portland, Oregon shopping mall and the Colorado theater massacre.

"As a country we've been through this too many times," said Obama. "These neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children."

He added, "We're gonna have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies."

"Our hearts are broken today for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children and the families of the adults who were lost," said Obama. "Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors as well."

Obama said that as blessed as families of survivors may feel, "they know their children's innocence has been torn from them too early and there are no words that will ease their pain."

He said while parents across the country will hug their children tighter and tell them that they love them tonight, "there are families in Connecticut who cannot do that tonight and they need all of us right now."

He ended his brief remarks by saying, "In the words of scripture, heal the broken-hearted and bind up their wounds."

Flags will be flown at half-staff in honor of the victims per a presidential directive. See the statements below:

Gov. Mitch Daniels has directed that flags throughout the state and at the State House be lowered to half-staff until sunset on December 18.This is in accordance with a directive from President Barack Obama. The president's proclamation is below:




"As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, December 18, 2012. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations."