Mother Of Slain Sandy Hook Student Sits In For Obama In Weekly Address | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Mother Of Slain Sandy Hook Student Sits In For Obama In Weekly Address

In a rare departure from tradition, Saturday's weekly presidential address was delivered not by President Obama but instead by Francine Wheeler, whose son Ben, 6, died in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings last December.

Flanked by her husband, David, Wheeler called for Americans to urge the Senate to pass gun control legislation that it is scheduled to begin debating in the coming week.

"We have to convince the Senate to come together and pass commonsense gun responsibility reforms that will make our communities safer and prevent more tragedies like the one we never thought would happen to us," Wheeler said (see the White House video).

In the roughly four-and-a-half minute speech, Wheeler also recalled her son for his boundless energy, his musical talents, and a desire to be like his older brother, Nate. Her address, which the White House tells the AP was written by the Wheelers themselves, comes one day before the four-month anniversary of the Newtown, Conn., murders.

"Sometimes, I close my eyes and all I can remember is that awful day waiting at the Sandy Hook Volunteer Firehouse for the boy who would never come home – the same firehouse that was home to Ben's Tiger Scout Den 6," Wheeler said, in an emotional passage that brought a brief pause. "But other times, I feel Ben's presence filling me with courage for what I have to do – for him and all the others taken from us so violently and too soon."

The Wheelers were among a group of people who lost loved ones at Sandy Hook who flew to Washington earlier this week. They told their stories to several senators, in a move that is credited with giving new momentum to a bill that would expand background checks and boost school security spending, along with other moves.

Thursday, the Senate voted by a wide margin to begin debate on the measure.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Audiences Get A Modern Look At A 19th Century Opera

Opera as seen through the lens of Google Glass? Wolf Trap is giving audiences the chance to mix technology with Bizet’s classic "Carmen" this month.
NPR

Summer Program For Hungry Kids Gets Creative With Food Delivery

Around the U.S., food assistance agencies are trying to come up with new ways to feed hungry kids in the summer. In Hopkins County, Ky., they're using mobile vans to take food to where kids live.
NPR

Insurance For Fake Identities The Latest Skirmish Over Obamacare

Republicans say a sting in which false identities were used to sign up for health care has revealed a major problem. Democrats question the premise that people would try to steal insurance.
NPR

A Plan To Untangle Our Digital Lives After We're Gone

In the digital age, our online accounts don't die with us. A proposed law might determine what does happen to them. But the tech industry warns the measure could threaten the privacy of the deceased.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.