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Public Statements

Newtown, Connecticut Tragedy

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I wish to start by extending my deepest sympathies to the families of the victims of Friday's massacre and to the whole community and to thank the first responders and all those who are helping in the aftermath of this darkest of tragedies.

Three days after the horrors of Newtown, we are all still reeling from what happened. Anytime there is a shooting such as this, we are crushed with sorrow. But there is no escaping the fact that the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary stands out for its awfulness. The murder of so many little children and the adults who tried to save them doesn't just break our hearts, it shatters them.

The last few days have been searing for all of us, and the days ahead will be too. Over the weekend, we began to see the faces of the children and to hear their stories.

One parent, Robbie Parker, stood in front of the cameras on Saturday and shared with the Nation an impromptu eulogy of his 6-year-old daughter Emilie. It was a remarkable moment. Emilie was bright and creative and very loving, he said, and we marveled at his courage. Now the funerals--10 of them this week in 1 church alone.

It has been said many times that no words are adequate to lift the agony of a parent such as Robbie Parker. What happened in Newtown on Friday is something for which no parent of a young child could ever prepare. But I think President Obama spoke for all of us in the very moving meditation he offered last night on the singularity of parental love.

There is literally nothing we wouldn't do for our kids and that is one of the things that makes this massacre so terrible and which makes the stories of courage we have heard so inspiring; the young teacher who stood between the gunman and her students and lost her life in the process; the principal and the school psychologist who sprang into action and gave their lives too. As the President said, these luminous acts of self-sacrificing love are the moments that will define this tragedy in the years ahead because the heroism and the courage we never fail to see in the midst of tragedies such as this become the starting points of something better and more lasting than the vagaries of this life. They give us the hope we need in the face of so much evil and sorrow.

We stand with the people of Newtown today and in the days ahead. We can do nothing to lessen their anguish, but we can let them know we mourn with them, that we share a tiny part of the burden in our own hearts, and that we will lift the victims and their families and the entire community in prayer.

The Scripture says that while ``now we only know in part, in the life to come we shall know, even as we are known.''

Scripture also says that in that day Ð``..... every tear will be wiped away, because there will be no more death, or sorrow, or crying, or pain, for the former things will have passed away.''

May the people of Newtown and all Americans be consoled by this certain hope. May their burdens be lightened by the loving care of their neighbors and friends and even strangers in the days and weeks ahead. May this terrible tragedy prompt all of us to cherish the lives we have been given, our family members and friends and all who surround us in our daily tasks.

This is no lasting city, we know. May we pass through it with a little more gratitude and with a firmer determination to live the kind of lives we have been called to live.

I yield the floor.

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