Addressing the hundreds of people gathered at Newtown High School for an Interfaith vigil honoring those lost in Friday's tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, President Obama said as a nation, we are not are meeting that obligations.
Telling the residents of Newtown that they have inspired the nation and will be remembered for caring for and loving one another in the face of "unconscionable evil", he continued by saying as a nation, the United States is left with hard questions.
Appearing to wipe a tear from his eye, he recalled that someone once said having children is "like walking around with your heart outside your body". He added that the first job of adults is to keep children safe and teach them well. He continued, saying:
"This is our first task: taking care of our children....If we don't get that right, we don't get anything right."
He then asked if "we as a nation" are meeting that obligation and if we are doing enough to keep our children safe from harm. He answered by saying:
"We’re not doing enough. And we will have to change."
He followed by saying:
“We cannot tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end, and to end them, we must change. In the coming weeks I'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 can't accept events like this as routine."
He then asked the audience:
"Are we really prepared to say that we're powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard?"
He quoted Mark 10:14 before reading the names of those killed on Friday, pausing several times in an attempt to keep his emotions at bay.
Reminding the Newtown community that they are not alone, and telling them that they have inspired the nation, he ended his remarks by saying:
"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 we'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."