Obama, Romney Unite to Comfort Massacre Victims' Loved Ones

Friday, 20 Jul 2012 04:17 PM

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President Barack Obama and his presidential rival Mitt Romney both suspended their campaigns on Friday in the wake of the shooting at a Colorado theater that left 12 dead and up to 70 injured. They both spoke about the tragedy. This is what they said:

President Obama speaking in Fort Myers, Fla.:

"Let me, first of all, say how grateful I am for all of you being here and how much we appreciate everything that you’ve done. I know that they’re a lot of people here who have been so engaged in the campaign, have sacrificed so much, people who have been involved back since 2007. And so I want all of you to know how appreciative I am.

"And I know many of you came here today for a campaign event. I was looking forward to having a fun conversation with you about some really important matters that we face as a country and the difference between myself and my opponent in this election.

"But, this morning, we woke up to news of a tragedy that reminds us of all the ways that we are united as one American family. By now, many of you know, many of you have heard that few miles outside of Denver, in a town called Aurora, at least 12 people were killed when a gunman opened fire in a movie theater. And dozens more are being treated for injuries at a local hospital. Some of the victims are being treated at a children’s hospital.

"Now, we’re still gathering all the facts about what happened in Aurora, but what we do know is that the police have one suspect in custody and the federal government stands ready to do whatever’s necessary to bring whoever’s responsible for this heinous crime to justice. And we will take every step possible to ensure the safety of all of our people. We’re going to stand by our neighbors in Colorado during this extraordinarily difficult time. And I had a chance to speak with the mayor of Aurora as well as the governor of Colorado to express not just on behalf of Michelle and myself, but the entire American family how heartbroken we are.

"Even as we learn how this happened and who’s responsible, we may never understand what leads anybody to terrorize their fellow human beings like this. Such violence, such evil is senseless. It’s beyond reason. But while we will never know, fully, what causes somebody to take the life of another; we do know what makes life worth living.

"The people we lost in Aurora loved and they were loved. They were mothers and fathers. They were husbands and wives, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters, friends and neighbors. They had hopes for the future and they had dreams that were not yet fulfilled. And if there’s anything to take away from this tragedy, it’s the reminder that life is very fragile. Our time here is limited and it is precious. And what matters at the end of the day is not the small thing. It’s not the trivial things, which so often consume us and our daily lives. Ultimately, it’s how we choose to treat one another and how we love one another. It’s what we do on a daily basis to give our lives meaning and to give our lives purpose. That’s what matters. At the end of the day, what we’ll remember will be those we loved and what we did for others. That’s why we’re here.

"I’m sure that many of you who are parents here had the same reaction that I did when I heard this news. My daughters go to the movies. What if Malia and Sasha had been at the theater as so many of our kids do every day? Michelle and I will be fortunate enough to hug our girls a little tighter tonight, and I’m sure you will do the same with your children. But, for those parents who may not be so lucky, we have to embrace them and let them know we’ll be there for them as a nation. So, again, I am so grateful that all of you are here. I am so moved by your support. But there are going to be other days for politics. This, I think, is a day for prayer and reflection.

"I hope all of you will keep the people of Aurora in your hearts and minds today. May the Lord bring them comfort and healing in hard days to come. I’m grateful to all of you and I hope that, as a consequence of today’s events, as you leave here, you spend a little time thinking about the incredible blessings that God has given us.”

Gov. Romney speaking in Bow, N.H.

“Our hearts break with the sadness of this unspeakable tragedy. Ann and I join the president and First Lady and all Americans in offering our deepest condolences for those whose lives were shattered in a few moments, a few moments of evil, in Colorado.

“I stand before you today not as a man running for office but as a father and grandfather, a husband, an American. This is a time for each of us to look into our hearts and remember how much we love one another and how much we love and how much we care for our great country. There is so much love and goodness in the heart of America.

“In the coming days we will surely learn more about the lives that have been lost and the families that have been harmed by this hateful act. We will come to know more about the talents and the gifts that each victim possessed and we will come to understand the hope and the opportunity that’s been lost.

“Our hearts break for the victims and their families. We pray that the wounded will recover and that those who are grieving will know the nearness of God.

“Today we feel not only a sense of grief but perhaps also of helplessness. But there is something we can do. We can offer comfort to someone near us who is suffering or heavy laden and we can mourn with those who mourn in Colorado.

“This morning Colorado lost youthful voices which would have brightened their homes, enriched their schools and brought joy to their families. Our prayer is that the Comforter might bring the peace to their souls that surpasses our understanding. The Apostle Paul explained, ‘Blessed be God who comforteth us in all our tribulations that we may be able to comfort them which are in trouble.’

“What we do know is how evil is overcome and we are seeing that greater power today in the goodness and compassion of a wounded community. Grieving and worried families in Aurora are surrounded with love today and not just by those who are with them and holding them in their arms. They can also know that they are being lifted up in prayer by people in every part of our great nation.

“Now and in the hard days to come, may every one of them feel the sympathy of our whole nation and the comfort of a living God.

“There will be justice for those responsible but that is another matter for another day. Today is a moment to grieve and to remember, to reach out, and to help, to appreciate our blessings in life. Each one of us will hold our kids a little closer, linger a bit longer with a colleague or a neighbor, reach out to a family member or friend. We’ll all spend a little less time thinking about the worries of our day and more time wondering about how to help those who are in need of compassion most.

“The answer is that we can come together. We will show our fellow citizens the good heart of the America we know and love.”


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