Monday, Dec. 17, 3:04 p.m. EST: NBC pre-empted the first quarter of Sunday night’s football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the New England Patriots to televise President Obama’s speech at the Newtown, Conn., memorial for victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting. That riled several football fans who were so upset about the delay that they expressed their disdain for the president on Twitter.
One in particular — Bradley Patterson, a University of North Alabama football player — tweeted, “Take that [n–ger] off the tv, we wanna watch football!”
Sunday, Dec. 16, 11:38 p.m. EST: On Sunday evening, President Obama visited Newtown, Conn., for an interfaith vigil, where he delivered the following remarks to the families of the victims and first responders, according to the White House press secretary:
THE PRESIDENT: To all the families, first responders, to the community of Newtown, clergy, guests — Scripture tells us: ” … do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away … inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”
We gather here in memory of twenty 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 be any town in America.
Here in Newtown, I come to offer the love and prayers of a nation. I am very mindful that mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow, nor can they heal your wounded hearts. I can only hope it helps for you to know that you’re not alone in your grief; that our world too has been torn apart; that all across this land of ours, we have wept with you, we’ve pulled our children tight. And you must know that whatever measure of comfort we can provide, we will provide; whatever portion of sadness that we can share with you to ease this heavy load, we will gladly bear it. Newtown — you are not alone.
As these difficult days have unfolded, you’ve also inspired us with stories of strength and resolve and sacrifice. We know that when danger arrived in the halls of Sandy Hook Elementary, the school’s staff did not flinch, they did not hesitate. Dawn Hochsprung and Mary Sherlach, Vicki Soto, Lauren Rousseau, Rachel Davino and Anne Marie Murphy — they responded as we all hope we might respond in such terrifying circumstances — with courage and with love, giving their lives to protect the children in their care.
We know that there were other teachers who barricaded themselves inside classrooms, and kept steady through it all, and reassured their students by saying “wait for the good guys, they’re coming”; “show me your smile.”