WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama marked the one-year anniversary of the deadly school shootings in Newtown, Conn., by urging Americans to redouble their efforts at the state and local levels to control gun violence.
“We haven’t yet done enough to make our communities and our country safer,” Obama said in his weekly video address Saturday morning. “We have to do more to keep dangerous people from getting their hands on a gun so easily.”
In an indirect acknowledgment of his own failure to enact new restrictions at the federal level, Obama said it’s up to citizens around the country to bring about change.
“We can’t lose sight of the fact that real change won’t come from Washington,” he said. “It will come the way it’s always come — from you, from the American people.”
A year after the killings that took the lives of 20 children and six school workers at Sandy Hook Elementary School, observances around the country focused on the victims themselves and on the acts of public and personal service in which some survivors now find comfort.
Newtown officials over the past week have requested that local residents simply honor the victims through acts of kindness to others. At a joint appearance earlier this week, family members of some of the victims asked people to remember their loss by looking for ways to give back to their own communities.
At the White House this pastmweek, the failed gun control campaign brought an added layer of sadness to those who led it.
“Our hearts were broken for the families,” Obama said in the Saturday address, recalling the hours and days after the shooting. “But beneath the sadness, we also felt a sense of resolve — that these tragedies must end, and that to end them, we must change.”
At 9:30 a.m., the time the shooting began that day a year ago, the president and first lady Michelle Obama, dressed in black, lit 26 candles at the White House and then stood silently before them for a moment.