In Obama’s private study, a reminder of Newtown tragedy

January 16, 2013

President Obama said Wednesday that he has hung a painting by one of the young victims of the Newtown, Conn., shooting tragedy in the White House.

As he concluded a news conference in which he announced his broad gun-control plan, Obama noted that he was given the painting in Newtown last month by the father of Grace McDonnell, a 7-year-old girl who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. McDonnell’s parents were among those present for Wednesday’s announcement at the White House.

“Grace was 7 years old when she was struck down — just a gorgeous, caring, joyful little girl,” Obama said. “I'm told she loved pink. She loved the beach. She dreamed of becoming a painter.”

“And so just before I left, Chris, her father, gave me one of her paintings, and I hung it in my private study just off the Oval Office,” he said. “And every time I look at that painting, I think about Grace and I think about the life that she lived and the life that lay ahead of her, and most of all, I think about how, when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable among us, we must act now for Grace, for the 25 other innocent children and devoted educators who had so much left to give, for the men and women in big cities and small towns who fall victim to senseless violence each and every day, for all the Americans who are counting on us to keep them safe from harm.”

The mention of Grace McDonnell was just one of several references to children at Wednesday’s event. Several elementary-school-age children who had written to Obama in the wake of the shooting were on stage when Obama spoke, and the White House released several of their letters earlier Wednesday.

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Aaron Blake | January 16, 2013