By Angela Wills
In what has become a staple of his presidency, President Barack Obama held a private meeting with the families of terror victims in San Bernardino this past Friday night. This meeting was one of a more subtle expression of national grief that symbolized a gesture of respect and was presented in an intimate setting.
Following the meeting, Obama said, “Despite the pain and heartache that they’re feeling, they could not have been more inspiring. It was a reminder of what’s good in this country.” He told reporters that the 14 victims were from various walks of life and faith. “They’re all representative of the strength and the unity and the love in this community.”
The meeting temporarily halted the president’s two-week Honolulu Christmas vacation. Thereafter, he and First Lady Michelle Obama met privately at Indian Springs High School with the families of the 14 who were killed during the attack, as well as with some of the first responders. There were another 22 injured during the Dec. 2nd massacre that the FBI think may have been inspired by the Islamic State terror group.
Those in attendance at the meeting quickly left the meeting without speaking to reporters. There were a number of people outside the school waving their red, white and blue flags and snapping pictures with their phones. There were mixed feelings about the timing of the president’s visit, some saying they feel he should have arrived sooner, while others are pleased that he simply stopped by to offer condolences in person.
Josh Earnest, White House Press Secretary said that the stop in San Bernardino would be a brief one, “Long enough to spend some time with the families of those who were killed in the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino a couple of weeks ago.” There were no other stops scheduled along the way.
Earnest says that of course the families are going through difficult times during this holiday season, which he revealed made the loss even more “acute”. President Obama felt that before beginning his holiday, it was important for him to spend time with some of the Americans who were in mourning.
His intentions were to let those in mourning know that they are in the thoughts and prayers of himself and the American people.
President Obama and the First Family were scheduled to arrive in his native Hawaii early Saturday morning. There are no public events scheduled during the two-week vacation.