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One Father To Another: President Obama Comforts Devastated Dad of Massacre Victim

In the wake of Friday’s unspeakable tragedy,  it is hard to imagine that anyone would be smiling in Newtown, Connecticut.

But when the President visited the small New  England town where a crazed gunman took 27 innocent lives, he managed to lift  the hearts and spirits of some grieving families, who took brief solace in his  mere presence.

In one emotional meeting, a heart-broken  President embraced Robbie Parker, father-to-father, over the senseless death of  his six-year-old daughter Emilie.

But it was smiles all around when he gathered  her younger sisters and some other children around to chat with them and pose  for a photo – a brief moment of joy among the sadness.

President Obama is able to temporarily lift the spirits of young victim Emilie Parker’s family and some other guests while meeting with the families before speaking at the interfaith service

He took the time to reach out to another  grieving family as he held the granddaughter of school  principal Dawn Hochsprung tightly in his arms, as he marveled over the brave  actions of the woman who lost her life trying to prevent the gunman from  entering the building.

Her daughter Cristina Hassinger tweeted a  picture with the poignant caption: ‘My mom would be SO proud to see President  Obama holding her granddaughter. But not as proud as I am of  her’.

The personal approach to the evening  continued when Mr Obama used scripture in  an effort to comfort the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary  School shooting.

‘You are not alone in your grief,’ President  Obama said. ‘All across this land our world too has  been torn apart. All across  this land we wept with you and pulled our  children tight. Newtown, you are not  alone.’

In one of the most religious speeches of his  presidency, Mr Obama talked about how the  ultimate goal for a society is to protect their children.

‘If we don’t get that right, we don’t get  anything right. By that measure,  can we truly say as a nation that we are doing  our obligations?’ he  said.

‘We gather here in memory of 20  beautiful  children and six remarkable adults. They lost their lives in a school that could  have been any school in a quiet town full of good and decent people that could  have been any town in America.

‘All across this land of ours, we have wept  with you. We’ve pulled our  children tight, and you must know whatever measure  of comfort we can  provide, we will provide it.’

As expected, he made several references to  the prospective- and likely-  legal battles that will come as politicians fight  for tougher  restrictions on guns in the wake of the shooting. That said, he was  clear to avoid specific plans, but took aim at the arguments made by  activists  who point to the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms as a  reason to keep guns  accessible.

‘Are we prepared to say that such violence  visited upon our children year  after year after year is somehow the price of  our freedom?’ he said.

A particularly poignant moment came  in the  speech when Mr Obama read the first names of all 20 children who  died in the  shooting.

‘We can’t accept events like this as routine.  Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage?’  he said, referring  to the four other mass shootings that have taken place since  Mr Obama  was elected.

In his  introduction, Connecticut governor  Dannel Malloy said that Mr Obama told him privately that Friday was the most  difficult day of his term in  office.

Deep sobs and sniffles filled the  room  throughout the service – but tears did not truly begin until Jason  Graves took  the podium to offer a Muslim prayer on behalf of the Al  Hedeya Islamic Center  of Newtown.

Mr Graves’ voice choked and crackled  as he  assured the mourners that God’s love was there for anyone asked  for it.

Adults and children sitting in the  audience,  who initially turned their faces away as a prayer was recited  in Arabic, were  reduced to deep sorrowful cries.

The service started nearly an hour  late  because the President was delayed by spending more time than  expected meeting  with the families of the victims from Friday’s  shooting.

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Posted by on December 17, 2012. Filed under NY News,Slider. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.