My Statement on the 10th Anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting

I consider December 14th, 2012 the single darkest day of my presidency.

Barack Obama
2 min readDec 14, 2022
President Barack Obama attends a Sandy Hook interfaith vigil at Newtown High School in Newtown, Conn., Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

I consider December 14th, 2012 the single darkest day of my presidency. The news from Sandy Hook Elementary was devastating, a visceral blow, and like so many others, I felt not just sorrow but anger at a world that could allow such things to happen.

Even then we understood that mere words could only do so much to ease the burden of the families who were suffering. But in the years since, each of them has borne that weight with strength and with grace. And they’ve drawn purpose from tragedy — doing everything in their power to make sure other children and families never have to experience what they and their loved ones did.

The journey hasn’t always been easy — and in a year when there hasn’t been a single week without a mass shooting somewhere in America, it’s clear our work is far from over. But of late, I’ve sensed that slowly, steadily, the tide is turning; that real change is possible. And I feel that way in no small part because of the families of Sandy Hook Elementary.

Ten years ago, we all would have understood if those families had simply asked for privacy and closed themselves off from the world. But instead, they took unimaginable sorrow and channeled it into a righteous cause — setting an example of strength and resolve.

They’ve made us proud. And if they were here today, I know the children and educators we lost a decade ago would be proud, too.