On Friday morning, 20-year-old Adam Lanza went to the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown and killed 26 people, including 20 young children and six adults.
"Let the little children come to me, Jesus said. And do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven," Obama said in his Sunday evening speech at Newtown High School.
On the C-SPAN broadcast of Obama's speech, a baby could be heard occasionally crying in the high school auditorium as the president spoke.
"This is our first task: caring for our children. It’s our first job," said Obama. "If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That is how as a society we will be judged.
"And by that measure can we truly say as a nation that we are meeting our obligations?" Obama asked rhetorically. "Can we honestly say that we are doing enough to keep our children, all them, safe from harm? Can we claim, as a nation, that we’re all together there, letting them know that they are loved and teaching them to love in return? Can we say that we are truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance that they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose? I have been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we are honest with ourselves, the answer is no. We are not doing enough. And we will have to change.”
“Are we really prepared to say that we are powerless in the face of such carnage?" Obama said. "That the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children, year after year after year, is somehow the price of our freedom?"
“We as a nation, we are left with some hard questions," Obama said.
“That this job of keeping our children safe and teaching them well is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the help of a community, and the help of a nation," said Obama. "And in that way we come to realize that we bear responsibility for every child, because we are counting on everybody else to help look after ours, that we are all parents, that they are all our children."
“There is only one thing we can be sure of, that is the love that we have of our children, our families, each other," Obama said near the end of his speech.
"Let the little children come to me, Jesus said. And do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven," said Obama.