President Obama promised Sunday evening he would take action in the coming weeks to prevent mass shootings such as the one that took the lives of 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut.

The president spoke for nearly 20 minutes at an interfaith vigil for the victims of the rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday. He praised the teachers who died trying to protect their students and those who kept their charges out of harm’s way. He comforted the bereaved families of the victims and the stricken community. And he admonished the nation for not doing enough to take care of its children.

In a personal and emotionally powerful speech, Obama spoke of how his own experience as a father gave his life purpose and declared the nation’s highest purpose is the care and education of its youngest members.

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