Almost a week after the tragic events that took place in Dallas and claimed the lives of five police officers, a memorial service was held today to formally lay them rest and attended by President Obama. The President gave a moving speech about the fallen officers and also the state of violence and guns in the country.
Sign Up For Our Newsletter!
As reported by People magazine, President Obama was also joined by former President George W. Bush at the Dallas memorial service this afternoon to honor the slain police officers.
Their details of the service state:
President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush on Tuesday spoke at an interfaith memorial service in Dallas for the five police officers who were killed by sniper fire in the city late last week.
Obama later took the stage and began his remarks with a scripture reference.
“Scripture tells us that in our sufferings, there is glory. Because we know that suffering produces perseverance. Perseverance, character. And character, hope. Sometimes the truths of these words are hard to see,” Obama said. “Right now those words test us. Because the people of Dallas, people across the country are suffering.”
But the President urged Americans to “reject such despair” and disparity during these trying times.
“We turn on the TV or surf the Internet and we can watch positions harden and lines drawn and people retreat to their respective corners,” Obama said. “Politicians calculate how to grab attention or avoid the fallout. We see all this and it’s hard not to think sometimes that the center won’t hold. And that things might get worse. I understand. I understand how Americans are feeling. But, Dallas, I’m here to say we must reject such despair.”
“I’m here to insist that we are not as divided as we seem,” he continued. “And I know that because I know America. I know how far we’ve come against impossible odds. I know we’ll make it because of what I’ve experienced in my own life. What I’ve seen of this country and its people, their goodness and decency as President of the United States.”
Obama said he has seen protesters and police officers grieving side by side for the slain officers, as well as the two black men recently killed in police shootings, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.
“In this audience I see what’s possible,” Obama said. “I see what’s possible when we recognize that we are one American family. All deserving of equal treatment. All deserving equal respect. All children of God. That’s the America I know.”
The President also criticized the instinct some have to dismiss the shared experiences of those in the black community, saying, “When all this takes place more than 50 years after the passage of the civil rights act? We cannot simply turn away and dismiss those in peaceful protests as troublemakers or paranoid. You can’t simply dismiss it as a symptom of police correctness or reverse racism. To have your experience denied like that, dismissed by those in authority, dismissed perhaps even by your white friends and co-workers and fellow church members, again and again and again? It hurts. Surely, we can see that. All of us.”
Obama also called on society to do its part to help ease racial tensions, echoing remarks made earlier this week by Dallas Police Chief David Brown.
“So much of the tensions between police departments and minority communities that they serve is because we ask the police to do too much and we ask too little of ourselves,” Obama said. “As a society we choose to underinvest in decent schools. We allow poverty to fester so that entire neighborhoods offer no prospect for gainful employment. We refuse to fund drug treatment and mental health programs.”
In addition to remarks by former President George W. Bush, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings also spoke. The memorial service was also attended by Vice President Biden, his wife Jill, former First Lady Laura Bush and First Lady Michelle Obama.
Check out more of the Dallas shootings here: