Readers of this blog may recall earlier posts in which I explained that in the mid-2000s I was a colleague for several years at Avalon Publishing Group with David Wheeler, whose 6-year old son Ben was a first-grade student at Sandy Hook Elementary School, one of the twenty children murdered in Newtown, CT, last Dec. 14. With heavy heart but much pride and encouragement I’ve watched over the past four months as David and his wife Francine, along with other Sandy Hook parents, have become activists for new laws that will diminish the likelihood of other similar tragedies occuring in the future. They and the other parents have met several times with President Obama and this week Francine was invited to deliver the administration’s weekly address. This would be the only time that someone other than the president or vice-president gave the weekly address. Last night NPR reported that Francine wrote the address with the help of David, and together they recorded it in the WH library. The Wheeler’s have vowed that their son’s life and death will have import and meaning, and they are working with great dedication to ensure this. I admire them and their older son Nate, and share their grief for Ben.
This morning the White House emailed this message from President Obama, explaining why he asked the Wheelers to take his place today.
To lend your voice to this effort, here’s the fact page the president mentions in his email.
Here is the White House video of Francine’s talk: