Presidential Radio Address April 21, 2007
Here is the President of the United States.
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning.
This week, the thoughts and prayers of millions of Americans are withthe victims of the Virginia Tech attacks. We mourn promising lives cutshort. We pray for the wounded. And we send our love to those who are hurting.
The day after the attack, Laura and I attended a memorial service onthe campus in Blacksburg. We met with faculty members who lost students andcolleagues, and shared hugs with grieving moms and dads -- includingparents who had lost their only child. We offered what words of comfort wecould, and we were moved by the solidarity and strength of spirit we found.We wanted everyone at the university to know that this tragedy saddened ourentire Nation -- and that the American people stand with them in an hour of darkness.
We can never fully understand what would cause a student to take thelives of 32 innocent people. What we do know is that this was a deeplytroubled young man -- and there were many warning signs. Our societycontinues to wrestle with the question of how to handle individuals whosemental health problems can make them a danger to themselves and to others.
Colleges and state and local officials are now confronting theseissues, and the Federal government will help. I've asked top officials atthe Departments of Education, Justice, and Health and Human Services toprovide the Virginia Tech community with whatever assistance we can, and toparticipate in a review of the broader questions raised by this tragedy.
I have directed these officials to travel to communities across ourNation, to meet with educators, mental health experts, and state and localofficials. I have asked the Secretary of Health and Human Services, MikeLeavitt, to summarize what they learn and report back to me withrecommendations about how we can help to avoid such tragedies.
This week at Virginia Tech, we saw a glimpse of humanity at its worst,and we also saw humanity at its best. We learned of students who riskedtheir own safety to tend to wounded classmates. We heard of a teacher whoused his body to barricade a classroom door, and gave his life so hisstudents could escape through windows. And we saw the good people ofBlacksburg embrace victims of this tragedy and help their neighbors endure,and heal, and hope.
That hope was expressed in a letter written by a Virginia Tech graduateshortly after the attack. He wrote: "Today, there is pain everywhere in ourcommunity, and our hearts are troubled. Yet I am certain our universitywill persevere." He continued, "Evil can never succeed, not while thereare...men and women like the people of Virginia Tech who reach every dayfor success, and endeavor for the improvement of the human condition acrossthe planet."
This week, we reflect on what has been lost and comfort those enduringa profound grief. And somehow we know that a brighter morning will come. Weknow this because together Americans have overcome many evils and foundstrength through many storms. And we know there will be a day, as promisedin Scripture, when evil will meet its reckoning and when every tear shallbe wiped away. May God bless those who mourn and may God bless our wonderful country.
Thank you for listening.
White House Press Office