Obama at Vigil Service: America's First Job is Caring for Our Children [Updated]

President Obama told vigil service attendees on Sunday that America is not doing enough to keep its children safe.

Updated, 9:27 p.m.

As President Barack Obama arrived in Newtown Sunday night, scores of folks, from near and far, gathered in the center of Sandy Hook for a makeshift vigil.

"I guess I'm just here to lend my support and comfort anyway I can," said Camille Wallace, a Queens, NY resident who came to Connecticut for the day. "You never really know what to do in this situation. I'm trying to talk to whoever I can, pass along a hug."

Wallace was one of the passerbys dropping flowers, hand-written messages and stuffed animals among dozens of burning candles at the intersection of Church Hill Road and Washingtown Avenue, in front of and around a giant tree decorated for Christmas.

David Fuselier, of Southbury, said he and others in the area are "heartbroken." Angela Williams, a paramedic from Philadelphia who came to show compassion for those hurting, shared that sentiment. She was there with her 3-year-old, Alex—one of many youngsters surveying the scene.

"He's asked, 'What's going on?' The best I can come up with is a bad man was hurting and he hurt others," she said. "And we're here to try and help pick up the pieces."

Signs declaring "Together We Are Strong" and "Love Will Get Us Through" were sprinkled throughout the town and village. Along Church Hill Road, where people parked their cars and walked to the memorial, balloons were tied to painted figures of angels planted in the ground.

Updated, 9:10 p.m.

An excerpt from the prayer by Rev. Rob Mossis, vicar of Christ the King Lutheran Church:

"We bring to you 20 new stars in the heavens, 20 new saints, 20 new angels. We bring to you those who risk their lives for us everyday not counting the cost, and we bring to you those who died, those who counsel, those who bless and embrace the confused and the broken. And now in this prayer, we bring to you ourselves, our questions, our doubts, our anger and our hearts, and we pray for the peace, the hope and the renewal of trust that can come only from a God who first conceived us in love and places a hand of compassion on each of our shouldlers even in the most trying times. And so tonight for our community, a community deepl pained, we ask you to heal our brokenness, to answer our questions, to replace our doubts with certainty, our anger with peace and our hurt with and healing…"

Updated, 8:59 p.m.

After reading the names of the Sandy Hook victims, Obama said that "for those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on and make our country worthy of their memory."

Updated, 8:54 p.m.

Obama spoke with attendees on keeping America's children safe:

"We come to realize that we bear responsibility for every child because we count on everyone to look after ours—that we’re all parents, that they're all our children. This is our first task caring for our children, it’s our first job. If we don’t get that right we don’t get anything right. That’s how as a society we will be judged. And by that measure can we truly say as a nation that we are meeting our obligation... We are not doing enough and we will have to change."

Updated, 8:45 p.m.

An excerpt from President Obama's address to vigil service attendees:

"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 any town of good and decent people. They could be any town in America. I come to offer the love and prayers of a nation. I'm very mindful that mere words cannot match your depths of sorrow, nor could they heal your wounded hearts....Newtown you are not alone." 

Updated, 8:37 p.m.

An excerpt from Gov. Malloy's speech at the vigil:

"[In spring], when flowers start to come out of the ground and when they rise, I will know that we are in touch with those we have lost in the last few days. We will go on, we will find strength, faith is a gift as is our ability to support one another in our great community. To all of you, I extend my most profound condolences for what you have seen, witnessed and personally experienced. We will move on, but we will never forget..."

Updated, 8:34 p.m.

First Selectwoman Patricia Llodra, who introduced Gov. Dan Malloy, said that Newtown is a "place that loves children above all" and would "not be defined" the Sandy Hook tragedy.

Updated, 8:29 p.m.

"Be though not disconosolate, do not languish, do not sigh, nor wail or weep for agitation and morning deeply affect their souls in the divine realm."

—John Woodall, Ba'hai Community Leader

Updated 8:21 p.m.

Rev. Jane Sibley of Newtown United Methodist Church offered a prayer for first responders. The following is an excerprt:

"You gave them gifts for their life to serve you. They were asked to pay a high price for all the skills that they have been given, for the strength that they have. You equipped them, you gave them a willingness to learn and train, you gave them a willingness to serve late at night when the call would come in—a willingness to respond when this town needed them the most. Lord we thank you for those that responded, for those thoughout the state that came when the need was given..."

Updated, 8:11 p.m.

An excerpt from a prayer by Rev. Jim Solomon of the New Hope Community Church:

"Dear Lord, as we leave the children that we lost in your hands, we ask that by your grace you woud empower us to bless and comfort the children that are still here in our hands. Please be with them in a special way as they grieve the loss of siblings and friends. Life will never be the same, yet we ask that you help these precious little ones to carry the spirits of their lost loved ones in their hearts as they go along living their lives to its fullest according to your will for each of these girls and boys."

Updated, 8:06 p.m.

An excerpt from a prayer by Mell Kawakami, senior pastor of Newtown Methodist Church:

“Each light that sits before us is a light that’s been lost to our world. So many innocents, so many brave...Lord all we can do is throw ourselves upon your tender mercies hoping that you hear our prayers… and so we pray for all of the souls lost and all of the families and friends torn by grief, for in this moment, we are all your children."

Updated, 7:53 p.m.

Rev. Matt Crebbin, minister of Newtown Congregational Church, has opened the interfaith vigil service. He said that the clergy in attendance has chosen to sit in the audience instead of on stage because "we wanted to have a symbolic gesture that we ourselves are with you and among you in these coming days—that we we are all together."

Original Story

An interfaith vigil for families of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings, as well as families from the school, is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the line to enter the building is already long.

The Red Cross is in attendance and is handing out blankets and water and stuffed animals, according to Amy Krasowski, of Fairfield and formerly of Sandy Hook.

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dita von struedel van trappyodel December 17, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Like I said, this is what the discussion is going to degrad into. If you want to avoid the real issues than follow Pacman's advise above.
SouthOfNyack December 17, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Merry Christmas "Gun Shops See Big Sales Weekend After Shooting" http://www.buzzfeed.com/katienotopoulos/gun-shops-report-huge-sales-weekend-after-shooting?s=mobile
Anne Latella December 17, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Walden Macnair-Just how do you deal with criminals with guns, since you are for gun control? I already stated I do not own any kind of gun & would not know how to use it. I do know if someone with a guni nvades your home and you dial 911 you could be dead by the time the police are able to get there. Perhaps you think your baseball bat will protect you? Further please do not take the name of the Lord in vain. You are totally stupid. You approve of criminals have guns because you know how to deal with them. Why because you perhaps are a criminal yourself? Yet you are afraid of Anne & Jill who do not even own one. Get a life and try another form of discussion. You are way off base on this one.
Racman63 December 17, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Mr Smelly: A line was crossed on Friday. There is nothing else to discuss. The culture war has just entered another level. It's time for action, not discussion. Dicussion yeilds nothing. NOTHING. It's push back time.
Anne Latella December 17, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Racmann63-None of your 10 comments make any sense. Even if the second Amendment is repealed, there are those who will find a way to obtain guns and use them and everyone will be defenseless. There is no way to stop an individual who is bent on shooting up people and places, unless there is someone on the spot like the White House with armed secret service employees and snipers. Even Presidents have been shot with this kind of protection. Therefore, I have to say you are wasting your time in trying to figure this out.
sayitsnotsojack December 17, 2012 at 04:12 PM
He is disgusting he is doing more harm to our children than anyone, he is setting them up to live in a police state.
SouthOfNyack December 17, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Hate is disgusting
Anne Latella December 17, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Nyack Resident- Guess again I am not 87 years old. However, I am smarter and more experienced then many people younger then I am. Anyway what would a person like you know about clear thinking? It is certainly not reflected in any of your posts. In addition when I was in the fourth grade my reading test scores were college level.
Anne Latella December 17, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Nyack Residant-Criminals do not do things like this because why? They are clear thinking kind people? Never shot anyone or disposed of bodies etc. You need a better explanation for your reasoning. That is if you are capable of reasoning or even thinking for tht matter.
dita von struedel van trappyodel December 17, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Why don't you deal with the real issues here, Hollywood immorality, decling of traditional religous values ( right and wrong) replaced with secularist thinking - we can do whatever we want, no individual responsibility ( its always someone elses fault), decline of the family etc etc. Guns are only a small part of it.
dita von struedel van trappyodel December 17, 2012 at 04:49 PM
I'd like your opinion.. you don't think that the culture of violence and death perpetuated on movie screens and video games had any impact on this terrible event at all? Please, I'd like to hear you briliant insight.
RJ December 17, 2012 at 05:03 PM
BG7-I can't speak for the rest of the country but in NY State food, education and healthcare is available - for free - to every single child. If their parents choose not to feed them, send them school or get medical attention then that is directly their fault - not societies.
Jim Byrne December 17, 2012 at 05:10 PM
WOW, Anne and Jill are completely BONKERS! Are you people for real? Stay away from me. You're scarier than everyday criminals. I also love the folks who are saying God didn't show up Friday because he was kicked out of schools. Man, what a spiteful guy. If that's his M.O., then thanks, but no thanks. Just because some of us don't subscribe to magical thinking doesn't mean we don't have values. I'm not very religious, but I believe there probably has to be some greater power. What I value most is being a good person and treating others the way I'd like to be treated. I've had it good, so I don't mind chipping in for others who haven't been as luck as I. From what I've read in the comments on here, twitter and on other places on the Internet, it's obvious that guns are just half the story. We have a lot of mentally sick people in this country who need help.
dita von struedel van trappyodel December 17, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Well you are naive and completely wrong.
dita von struedel van trappyodel December 17, 2012 at 05:16 PM
I agree Jim. But it seems theat Hollywood/Entertainment Industry always gets a pass. Have you ever seen these violent, disgusting video games? This is also a big part of the problem. But God forbid you try and censor these guys in order to save lives the secular, liberal left wing wackos ( same ones trying to ban guns) rise up in the name of "free speech". People are ignoring the real reasons for this tradgedy.
Jim Byrne December 17, 2012 at 05:24 PM
smellypants, I do agree with you on that. A commercial came on Saturday for some video game and it literally made me nauseous. I'm also 30, so I grew up with video games and should be "used to it." While the sane in the population can handle the fantasy world of video games/tv/movies, I certainly think it can have an effect on others. There are certainly many contributing factors to what happened on Friday. I definitely believe better family structures/values can help, as can a push from our leaders asking us to be better people. But it does come down to your family. I'm lucky to have two great parents who raised me the right way; treat others with respect, and leave a situation better than when you entered. I went to church as a kid, but learned so much more from my parents than there. Nothing against religious people -- but the extremists frighten me. What people should be taking away from religion is to be a good person, but then you see the "religious" folk hammering at the President, muslims, etc. Something is off there. The media and our entertainers certainly don't always help. I could go on forever here, but I just want to add that I don't understand the pro-gun crowd who REFUSE to see guns as ANY issue at all. That's being ridiculous. I have nothing against responsible gun owners, but it should really be a TOTAL hassle to acquire one. You're gonna get your gun, but it should be amazingly difficult to do so. Wal-Mart shouldn't sell them like CANDY.
SouthOfNyack December 17, 2012 at 05:46 PM
RIGHT! Newtown. CT is the epitome of a community sorely lacking in traditional religious and family values. HUH? WTH are you talkng about? Please remove your head from your posterior, then turn off FOX "News" and other "Republican Entertainment Complex" programs; studies prove they lower a viewer's IQ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/2012/01/27/intelligence-study-links-prejudice_n_1237796.html
dita von struedel van trappyodel December 17, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Nyack, you and your brother South of Nyack are incredibly naive and ignorant. Go ahead and bury your low IQ heads in the sand and pretend that the only reason this tragedy occurred was because of guns. Dumb and Dumber.
SouthOfNyack December 17, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Smellypants: please point out where I said that "the only reason this tragedy occurred was because of guns." Have you learned nothing from the tragedy in Newtown? Or has your hatred of President Obama blinded you to all?
dita von struedel van trappyodel December 17, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Dumb and Dumber = Nyack and South Nyack. FYI i grduated summa cum laude from an Ivy League University and have an MBA as well. What are your creds ... Nyack High School? You betray just how dumb you are by not engaging in meanigul discussion of the issues at hand but in smearing people who do.
dita von struedel van trappyodel December 17, 2012 at 06:53 PM
You will see, once they fully investigate this, that this guy played violent video games and watced violent movies. PS to Nyack, I don't believe a word you are saying. You are probably some minimum wage micscreant who obviously has way too much time on his/her hands.
SouthOfNyack December 17, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Smellypants: you call me names then say I am "smearing people" (???) and not "engaging in a meaningful discussion" (???) Please point out where I have smeared you or anyone else. Also, please pint out where I said that "guns" are the "only reason" for the tragedy in Newtown. Thank you
Bjorn Olsson December 17, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Where do you all you conspiracy theory people come from? I never actually meet any of you, only see you in places like these. Sharia, pot and socialism, it all makes sense now!
Bjorn Olsson December 17, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Anne, you are right about mass shooting. You can't completely protect yourself from a suicide attack. The bigger problem is the huge numbers of people killed every day in the US. That's where gun control would make a difference.
Bjorn Olsson December 17, 2012 at 07:48 PM
"Real Issues" always seems to equal anything BUT gun control. Why would you not make that part of the solution?
Bjorn Olsson December 17, 2012 at 07:51 PM
So Smelly, when it comes to Guns, it's "don't touch my constitution", but when it's about free speech, not so much? For gun nuts it has nothing to do with the constitution, it's all about getting to play with those guns.
Bjorn Olsson December 17, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Girls, you're both pretty. Step out of the sandbox, ok?
Bjorn Olsson December 17, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Like what? "I have a better education than you, so you should just shut up"-kind of thing? How does that add to anything?
Bjorn Olsson December 17, 2012 at 09:50 PM
I have no comments whatsoever about whether you or Smellypants have the higher credibility, except maybe "all that education and here you are, yelling at strangers on The Patch." I think I stick to the issues most of the time, actually. I even use my real name!
dita von struedel van trappyodel December 17, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Nyack - I"m going to drop this silly conversation but have one last thing to say on your "creds"... I don't believe you for a minute.


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