Comfort and Healing: Past Presidential Speeches Aimed at Lifting a Nation From Grief

President Obama is delivering remarks at a memorial in Tucson, Ariz., Wednesday evening in an attempt to heal a nation shocked by the weekend shooting of 20 people outside a grocery store during a town-hall event. Other presidents have had the unfortunate task of trying to lift the nation from grief and give a united sense of justice and purpose. Here is a look at some past presidential speeches intended to bring comfort to a mourning nation. 

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    President Franklin Roosevelt - Pearl Harbor

    Dec. 8, 1941: President Franklin D. Roosevelt's address to Congress after the attack on Pearl Harbor . "No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory. I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us. "Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger. With confidence in our armed forces -- with the unbounding determination of our people -- we will gain the inevitable triumph -- so help us God".
    AP
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    President Lyndon B. Johnson- headshot as U.S. President

    Nov. 28, 1963: President Lyndon B. Johnson's address to the nation on Thanksgiving Day, just days after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. "But more than these blessings, we know tonight that our system is strong -- strong and secure. A deed that was meant to tear us apart has bound us together. Our system has passed -- you have passed -- a great test. You have shown what John F. Kennedy called upon us to show in his proclamation of this Thanksgiving: that decency of purpose, that steadfastness of resolve, and that strength of will which we inherit from our forefathers. "What better conveys what is best for America than this? "On Saturday, when these great burdens had been mine only hours, the first two citizens to call upon me and to offer their whole support were Dwight D. Eisenhower and Harry S. Truman. "Since last Friday, Americans have turned to the good, to the decent values of our life. These have served us. Yes, these have saved us. The service of our public institution and our public men is the salvation of us all from the Supreme Court to the States. And how much better would it be, how much more sane it would be, how much more decent and American it would be if all Americans could spend their fortunes and could give their time and spend their energies helping our system and its servants."
    AP
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    President Lyndon Johnson - Martin Luther King Jr.'s Assassination

    April 5, 1968: President Lyndon B. Johnson's address to the nation upon proclaiming a day of mourning following the death of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. "No words of ours -- and no words of mine -- can fill the void of the eloquent voice that has been stilled. "But this I do believe deeply: "The dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has not died with him. Men who are white --men who are black -- must and will now join together as never in the past to let all the forces of divisiveness know that America shall not be ruled by the bullet, but only by the ballot of free and of just men. "In these years, we have moved toward opening the way of hope and opportunity and justice in this country. "We have rolled away some of the stones of inaction, of indifference and of injustice.
    Our work is not yet done. But we have begun.
    AP
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    President Reagan - Beirut, Lebanon, Barracks Bombing

    Oct. 24, 1983: President Ronald Reagan held a question-and-answer session with regional editors and broadcasters on the situation in Lebanon following an attack on a U.S. military post. "Yesterday's acts of terrorism in Beirut which killed so many young American and French servicemen were a horrifying reminder of the type of enemy that we face in many critical areas of the world today -- vicious, cowardly and ruthless. Words can never convey the depth of compassion that we feel for those brave men and for their loved ones. ... "The struggle for peace is indivisible. We cannot pick and choose where we will support freedom; we can only determine how. If it's lost in one place, all of us lose. If others feel confident that they can intimidate us and our allies in Lebanon, they will become more bold elsewhere."
    AP
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    President Ronald Reagan -- Space Shuttle Challenger Explosion

    Jan. 28, 1986: President Ronald Reagan addresses the nation after the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger. "For the families of the seven, we cannot bear, as you do, the full impact of this tragedy. But we feel the loss, and we're thinking about you so very much. Your loved ones were daring and brave, and they had that special grace, that special spirit that says, 'Give me a challenge, and I'll meet it with joy.' They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths. They wished to serve, and they did. They served all of us. We've grown used to wonders in this century. It's hard to dazzle us. But for 25 years the United States space program has been doing just that. We've grown used to the idea of space, and perhaps we forget... "The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and 'slipped the surly bonds of earth' to 'touch the face of God.' "
    AP
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    President Bill Clinton -- The Oklahoma City Bombing

    April 19, 1995: President Bill Clinton spoke to the nation following the Oklahoma City bombing. "To all my fellow Americans beyond this hall, I say, one thing we owe those who have sacrificed is the duty to purge ourselves of the dark forces which gave rise to this evil. They are forces that threaten our common peace, our freedom, our way of life. "Let us teach our children that the God of comfort is also the God of righteousness. Those who trouble their own house will inherit the wind. Justice will prevail. "Let us let our own children know that we will stand against the forces of fear. When there is talk of hatred, let us stand up and talk against it. When there is talk of violence, let us stand up and talk against it. In the face of death, let us honor life. As St. Paul admonished us, let us not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good."
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    President Bill Clinton -- Columbine High School Shooting

    April 23, 1995: President Bill Clinton remarks on the attack at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. that occurred on April 19, 1995.  "We don't know yet all the hows or whys of this tragedy. Perhaps we may never fully understand it. Saint Paul reminds us that we all see things in this life through a glass darkly, that we only partly understand what is happening. We do know that we must do more to reach out to our children and teach them to express their anger and to resolve their conflicts with words, not weapons. And we do know we have to do more to recognize the early warning signs that are sent before children act violently. "To the families who have lost their loved ones, to the parents who have lost their beloved children, to the wounded children and their families, to the people of the community of Littleton, I can only say tonight that the prayers of the American people are with you."
    AP
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    President George W. Bush Speaks to Nation Sept. 11, 2001

    Sept. 11, 2001: President George W. Bush address to the nation on the day of the terror attacks. "A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining. "Today our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature. And we responded with the best of America…This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time."
    White House Archives/Paul Morse
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    President George W. Bush -- Virginia Tech University Shooting

    April 17, 2007: President George W. Bush makes remarks during a memorial convocation at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Va., following a shooting that killed 32 and injured 20. "These sources of strength are with your loved ones. For many of you, your first instinct was to call home and let your moms and dads know that you were okay. Others took on the terrible duty of calling the relatives of a classmate or a colleague who had been wounded or lost. I know many of you feel awfully far away from people you lean on, people you count on during difficult times. But as a dad, I can assure you, a parent's love is never far from their child's heart. And as you draw closer to your own families in the coming days, I ask you to reach out to those who ache for sons and daughters who will never come home." "These sources of strength are also in the faith that sustains so many of us. Across the town of Blacksburg and in towns all across America, houses of worship from every faith have opened their doors and have lifted you up in prayer. People who have never met you are praying for you; they're praying for your friends who have fallen and who are injured. "There's a power in these prayers, a real power. In times like this, we can find comfort in the grace and guidance of a loving God. As the Scriptures tells us, 'Don't be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.'"
    AP
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