Like millions of people in America and across the world on Friday Dec. 14, President Barack Obama was overwhelmed with emotion speaking about the horrific events that unfolded at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. -- in which a shooter murdered seven adults and 20 young children.
Obama, 51, addressed the country as news of the senseless killings emerged.
"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," said Obama, who shares daughters Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11, with wife Michelle. "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."
"The majority of those who died today were children, beautiful little kids between the years of 5 and 10 years old," he continued before pausing, visibly tearful and overcome.
Wiping his eyes, he continued: "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.
"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. 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.
"As a country we have been through this too many times," he said before listing the many sites of previous mass shootings in Oregon, Colorado, Wisconsin and more. "These neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children. We're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics."
The gunman, Adam Lanza, has been reported dead; the tragedy now ranks as the second-deadliest school shooting in American history, following the Virginia Tech massacre of 2007, in which 32 people died.