To the grandparents, parents, siblings, children, spouses, and fellow broken and healing hearts of Sandy Hook, I know. No matter how long it’s been, every time you talk about it, you relive it as though you just heard the news. Eight years later, I know the pain never fully heals.

I think about how that day eight years ago was the saddest day we had in the White House. Twenty first-graders. Their six educators. And I think about the time we have spent with each other grieving since then. I remain in awe of you. I have heard from and watched as so many of you turned pain into purpose, working to change our laws and our culture around gun violence and how we protect and nurture our children.

I know it can feel like an impossible task. Since this December day eight years ago, your nightmare has been felt by thousands of other families in our country who have lost a piece of their soul in other schools, a shopping mall, a movie theatre, a club, a house of worship, in their neighborhoods, and in their homes. Some of these tragedies make national headlines, so many more do not. Every year, more than 30,000 people die from gun violence across America — a statistic we would associate with war in a far-off place. Countless more are left with a lifetime of injuries and trauma.

But in this collective pain, you’ve helped usher in a collective and growing purpose. You’ve helped us forge a consensus that gun violence is a national health crisis and we need to address its total cost to fully heal families, communities, and our nation.

Eight years later, there have been plenty of thoughts and prayers, but we know that is not enough. Together with you and millions of our fellow Americans of every background all across our nation, we will fight to end this scourge on our society and enact common sense reforms that are supported by a majority of Americans and that will save countless lives.

Jill and I send our love to you and we pray for the twenty-six angels in heaven and in our hearts.

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